About 90 women from all 14 districts in Sierra Leone, national and local government officials as well as representatives from the Constitutional Review Committee and UNIPSIL met to discuss the reviewing of the 1991 constitution in Makeni 29-30 January. Members of women, traditional and religious organizations as well as military, police, academia and private sector shared their views on how to ensure a gender sensitive constitution.
The two day workshop was organized by the Campaign for Good Governance and supported by the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL) as part of nationwide efforts to make the review process inclusive and owned by all people of Sierra Leone.
Mr. Berhanemeskel Nega, Deputy Head of UNIPSIL, called on women to use this opportunity and participate in the review process to consolidate gains achieved. “Women empowerment cannot be achieved in isolation but needs everybody’s support”, he further emphasized.
The Director of the Campaign for Good Governance, Valnora Edwin, noted the importance that citizens of Sierra Leone – especially women – have a constitution that reflects equality, respects human rights, encompasses justice and promotes good governance.
BACKGROUND: UN Support to the Constitutional Review Process Project
In July 2013, President Ernest Bai Koroma launched the Constitutional Review Committee (CRC), tasked to review Sierra Leone’s 1991 constitution and to find solutions for challenges related to governance, democracy development and peace consolidation. Following a series of countrywide consultations, a reviewed constitution is expected to be adopted by a referendum.
The United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL) has been working with political parties, traditional and religious leaders, youth and women groups to enhance their understanding on constitutional issues and support their initiatives for an inclusive and participatory constitutional review process since December 2013.
UNIPSIL activities complement the “UN Support to the Constitutional Review Process” project led by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and supported by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) as well as the European Union (EU).