The Justice and Peace and Human Rights Commission (JPHRC), Diocese of Makeni, was created by His Lordship Bishop George Biguzzi in 1994.
The Commission works with 25 parishes in the northern region and has established 20 sub-commissions of Justice and Peace and Human Rights that has enabled the central Commission to work directly in the field with Catholic, Muslim and other religious communities.
One of the pillars of the work of JPHRC is the neutrality of its actions: this role has been recognised by the authorities and the common people in the communities, and permit the organisation to help all parties and guarantee impartiality even during national, local, and Paramount Chief elections.
JPHRC has implemented a wide variety of work since its founding:
Between 1994 -2003, the Commission held a series of seminars with key stakeholders at community and Diocesan level in order to chart the way forward for the commission. The outcomes of these seminars led to the formation of the Justice and Peace and Human Rights Commission of the Diocese of Makeni.
Between 2003 –2004, the Commission embarked on activities including the formation and strengthening of Chiefdom Recovery committees, the sensitisation of communities on good governance, peace building and human rights, peace education and reconciliation, women’s participations in the decision-making process, capacity building for members in the decentralisation programme, and the monitoring of 2004 Local Council elections in the Northern province of Sierra Leone. Also in 2004, JPHRC produced a simplified version of the 1991 Sierra Leone Constitution – ‘Know Your Rights and Responsibilities’ for Junior and Senior Secondary Schools.
Between 2005 – 2007, JPHRC continued to work on building the capacities of councillors in the District Councils, Paramount Chiefs, and Ward Committee members, strengthening the Justice and Peace and Human Rights sub-Commissions in Human Rights, Good Governance, and monitoring Parliamentary and Presidential elections
In 2008-2009, 20 Justice and Peace and Human Rights sub-Commissions were established in the five districts of the Northern Province of Sierra Leone. Training in basic human rights and monitoring of local elections was provided to members as well as support to monitor the local elections.
Capacity building for Ward Committee members on the roles and responsibilities in the decentralisation programme was conducted in 34 Wards of Kambia and Port Loko districts.
In 2009-2010, the Commission observed the Paramount Chieftaincy Elections in the 17 Chiefdoms of the northern Region and conducted training on human rights, ethics in governance and roles and responsibilities in the decentralisation programme.
Between 2009 and the first semester of 2010 JPHRC went through a transitional phase in order to reorganise its human resources and organisational structure.
Since 2004, JPHRC has produced the following publications, available on the website of the Diocese of Makeni.
- The 1991 Sierra Leone Constitution- Know your rights and responsibilities- for Junior and Senior Secondary Schools.
- From Peace keeping to Peace building
- Monitoring Handbook for Social operators
- Impact Assessment on the Rapid Response Initiative (RRI) and National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA).
- Impact Assessment on Service delivery in Koinadugu District 2004- 2009
- Paramount Chiefs short term observation mission report 2009 – 2010.
The Commission has worked with many partners including the UNDP country office, ENCISS, Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the University of Makeni, Access to Justice Law Center, Radio Maria Sierra Leone, Caritas Italiana, the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace, Kindermissionwerk and Conferenza Episcopale Italiana.