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Sierra Leone: Political Violence and Arrests

Volume 646: debated on Tuesday 4 September 2018

10. What recent assessment his Department has made of the level of political (a) violence and (b) arrests in Sierra Leone. (906717)

Sierra Leone held presidential and parliamentary elections in March, and power was transferred peacefully. We are aware of recent allegations of politically motivated violence and we continue to monitor the situation. The new Government have made a commitment to govern for all Sierra Leoneans, and I call on them to honour that pledge and to ensure due process in all cases.

I am proud of the large and vibrant Sierra Leonean community in my constituency, but many community leaders have come to see me to discuss their worries about escalating tensions, arrests, violence and restrictions on political activity since the elections earlier this year. Will the Minister meet Southwark’s Sierra Leonean community representatives to outline what the Government are doing in response to their concerns?

On my visit to the country earlier this year, I was struck by the journey that it has gone through from civil war to the presence of United Nations peacekeepers to the terrible Ebola outbreak, so it was welcome that elections were held this year and that there was a peaceful transition of power. I would, of course, always be happy to meet the hon. Gentleman’s constituents and the community. To reiterate the point I just made, we welcome the inclusive approach that the Sierra Leonean Government are talking about and hope to see it implemented.