Caritas Freetown, with support from Trocaire, AGIAMONDO, Catholic Agency for Overseas Development and Ziviler Friendensdienst Civil Peace Service celebrates International Day of Peace 2022.
As we celebrate the International Day of Peace with theme: “Stop Election Violence, Build Peace”, Caritas Freetown, with support from Trocaire, AGIAMONDO, Catholic Agency for Overseas Development and Ziviler Friendensdienst Civil Peace Service, has on the 20th September, 2022 organized a one- day Police and Youth Dialogue Session, targeting personnel of the Sierra Leone Police, Youth Affairs, Political Parties Representative, Bike Riders and Journalist. The event took place at Kondi Hall, Yam’s Farm in the Western Rural District.
The relationship between Police Officers and Youths have been strained throughout the years. But this was how many young people in Sierra Leone felt when the relationship between police and the youth were at their lowest point, especially during the August 10 accident that took place in some part of the country which led to the destruction of properties and loss of innocent lives.
As the appeals from young people to intervene grew, the consortium of five NGOs worked to broker a truce between young people and the police by celebrating the International Day of Peace 2022 with a one-day dialogue between the Police and youths in Sierra Leone.
Young people were saying they were always suspects. They are often harassed by the police, arrested and being rounded up and put behind bars when reporting crime, instead of being listened to. Stories like these were the catalyst for change. A baseline study in the past years had showed that police harassment of young people, between 18 and 35, was one of the drivers for violent extremism in the country based on their approach.
Mohamed Turay, Chairman of the Bike Riders Association East said one of the causes of conflict between the parties is that the Police Officers see the Youths as a threat, emphasizing that as riders, they suffer too much harassment from the Police. He further stated that “Young people were being rounded up from their bikes, which has led to so many accidents or just for being in groups in their community.”