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Justice and Peace Commission of the Catholic Archdiocese of Freetown

Freetown, Sierra Leone
Joined February 2012
Presence in: Liberia, Sierra Leone

The Justice and Peace Commission (JPC) was established in March 2009 by the Roman Catholic Archbishop of the Arcdiocese of Freetown. It was established as a response to some of the social issues in Sierra Leone. Unfortunately, many of the pre-war indicators, such as indiscipline, abuse of power for personal gains, undue delay in the delivery of justice in courts, bribery and corruption, are already present in our midst, and some are afraid that this country might relapse into violent conflict. As a Commission, we are sensitive to the basic needs and concerns not only of our members but of the Sierra Leone society in general. It is against this background that the JPC is established to guide and assist the Archdiocese of Freetown in her effort to collaborate with other major stakeholders in the task of promoting a reconciled, just and peaceful society in post-war Sierra Leone.

The JPC will also work in collaboration with other stakeholders like the civil society organizations (CSOs), national and international organizations by networking, to animate and sensitize communities on human rights, conflict resolution, and environmental.

The vision requires facilitating access to justice and peace by training paralegals and peace building facilitators in human right issues, good governance, conflict resolution and environmental issues.

The current strategic framework is organised into four basic areas:

Conflict Resolution, Peace Building and Reconciliation, focusing on advocacy, training and sensitization of parishes and communities. Thus empowerment of the parishes/communities in peace building initiatives will be enhanced.
Justice and Human Rights issues: focusing on community awareness raising; training law enforcement officers for community legal schemes; setting up human rights mobile clinics that would reach out to local communities; identification and documentation of human rights and injustice issues; referral and provision of free legal service to the less privileged and the most vulnerable.

Governance: focusing on advocacy activities covering democratization, leadership, Citizens’ rights and responsibilities, elections and local governance, transparency and accountability and eradication of corruption.

Environmental Issues: focusing on community awareness raising in collaboration with relevant the ministries for addressing deforestation, unjust mining, sanitation etc.

JPC Policy and its Objective

Creating a just and peaceful society where all human beings are treated equally without prejudice or favouritism is focal in the policy framework of JPC’s activities. This policy is a key vehicle to realising our vision. The church therefore believes in the existence of a state that provides opportunity for all such that poverty, which reduces human dignity, is eliminated. The underlining principles therefore are equal rights,justice and peace for humanity.

The objectives of JPC are as follows:

Establish independent JP committees that will oversee human rights and peace building activities in the project areas.

Establish a framework for educating the target communities on peace building, conflict resolution, mediation skills and human right issues especially the rights of women and children

Build the capacity of paralegals and peace building officers including peace and human rights monitors, contact persons, Community Oversight Board in the identification and documentation of community issues on peace, justice and human rights.

Establish human rights mobile clinics that would address human rights and conflict related issues in communities

Create an enabling environment wherein the welfare and rights of the people are protected through advocacy, legal intervention and good governance

Create a peaceful and just society by providing legal aid to victims of human rights abuse
Cooperate with other partners in advocating and promoting environmental issues.