The Republic of Sierra Leone is a member of the United Nations and the African Union. It has ratified many UN Human Rights Conventions (compare list on the right) and thus has made binding international commitments to adhere to the standards laid down in these universal human rights documents.
Sierra Leone is an English- and Krio-speaking country in West Africa. With an area of 71,740 square km it is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the southwest. On a global scale, its population density is medium. The capital of the country, which became independent on 27 April 1961 from the United Kingdom, is Freetown. Sierra Leone is a member of the regional economic communities ECOWAS and CEN-SAD.
With a Human Development Index of 0.37 Sierra Leone ranks third lowest among 182 countries ranked in the UNDP Human Development Report of 2009. Life expectancy of the 5.6 million inhabitants at birth is 48 years, population growth is 2.5 percent per year. GNI is 320 US-$ per capita. External debt is 21.4 percent of gross national income.
In as far as Sierra Leone has ratified the Optional Protocols for UN Human Rights Conventions or has accepted the Competence of the corresponding UN Treaty Bodies (compare list on the right), the inhabitants of Sierra Leone and their representatives are able to invoke their human rights through these bodies.
All inhabitants of Sierra Leone may turn to the UN Human Rights Committee through procedure 1503, to the Special Rapporteurs for violations of specific human rights or to ECOSOC for women's rights violations.
Since Sierra Leone is a member state of UNESCO, its citizens may use the UNESCO procedure for human rights violations in UNESCO's fields of mandate.
Employers' or workers' and certain other organizations (not individuals) of Sierra Leone may file complaints through the ILO procedure in the cases of those conventions which Sierra Leone has ratified.
Since Sierra Leone is an AU member, its citizens and NGOs may file complaints to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
They may also file complaints according to the EU guidelines (on Human Rights Defenders, Death Penalty and Torture) to Embassies of EU Member States and the Delegations of the European Commission.
In cases of human rights violations by multinational enterprises, they may also invoke the National Contact Point in an OECD member state.
Sierra Leone has joined the International Criminal Court, it may thus be called upon in case of severe crimes.