Joseph Kaifala Esq. – Principal of the Centre for Memory and Reparations with the Awardee – Madam Binta Mansaray

National Reconciliation Award is an initiative by The Center for Memory and Reparations to honour an outstanding Sierra Leonean who has made significant contributions, and stood firm in the struggle for transitional justice, human rights, and national reconciliation in Sierra Leone for a minimum of 10 years.

The award recognizes and honours a courageous, innovative, dynamic, and  ethical individual who holds a track record in fighting for fundamental rights and justice in Sierra Leone. The National Reconciliation Award will honour an individual who has made a consistent contribution to transitional justice or human rights in Sierra Leone.

Nominees for this award must  demonstrate a minimum of 10 years of work in any profession relating to transitional justice or human rights. We aim to recognise and honour a courageous, innovative, dynamic, and ethical individual who holds a track record in fighting for fundamental rights and justice in Sierra Leone. The National Reconciliation Award is for an individual who shows us that there is no democracy without justice and respect for human rights – the Recipient of the National Reconciliation Award for this year was honoured at a ceremony in Freetown on  July 7, 2022. It may interest you to note that this day serves as a Memory Day- The Lomé Peace Agreement was also signed on 7 July 1999 between the warring parties in the civil war that gripped Sierra Leone for almost a decade.

The recipient of this year’s National Reconciliation Award is Madam Binta Mansaray, Registrar of the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone receives the National Reconciliation Award. The Award is given by the Center for Memory and Reparations facilitating remembrance and collective narratives around the Sierra Leonean civil war.

The Award Recipient

Binta Mansaray was appointed Registrar of the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone by the Secretary- General of the United Nations in September 2014. She had served as Acting Registrar Of the Residual Special Court since its inception in January 2014. She previously served as Registrar of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, a post she held from February 2010 to December 2013, when the Special Court closed upon the successful completion of its mandate. From July 2007 to February 2010, she was Deputy Registrar, and while continuing to hold that post, she was appointed Acting Registrar in June 2009.

Ms. Mansaray first joined the Special Court in 2003 as Outreach Coordinator, during which time she designed the Court’s widely-acclaimed Grassroots Programme to keep the people of Sierra Leone, and later Liberia, informed about the Court and its trials. Prior to joining the Court, from 1996 to 2002, Ms. Mansaray was a human rights advocate for victims, women and adolescent Ex-combatants of the Sierra Leone armed conflict, working with a number of organizations: She held the post of Protection Partner/Country Representative for the Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children in Sierra Leone; she worked with the Campaign for Good governance, several civil society organizations, and served as a consultant with the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL).

As Registrar of the Residual Special Court, she initiated and oversaw the refurbishment,development and expansion of the Sierra Leone Peace Museum, which seeks to educate visitors, Through artifact and records, about Sierra Leone’s war and its aftermath, and about transitional Justice. The Museum houses the archives of the TRC and the public records of the Special Court for the benefit of Sierra Leoneans, visiting researchers and future generations. The Museum also has a Memorial Garden designed to promote contemplation of the tragedy of the country’s armed  Conflict, and in remembrance of those who lost their lives.

Ms. Mansaray is a graduate of the University of Sierra Leone. She received a Master’s degree in French from Fordham University in New York and a Master’s degree in Public Administration and Policy from American University in Washington, DC. She obtained a certificate after successfully completing training on Women and Armed Conflict which was organized by ISIS-WICCE in Kampala in 1999.

In April 2018, Ms. Mansaray was inducted by the American University into Pi Alpha Alpha, a Global Honour Society which recognizes outstanding scholarship in public administration and public affairs. Among the awards and recognition she has received, in 2014 she was made commander of the Order of the Rokel by the then-President of Sierra Leone for her work at the special Court. The Order of the Rokel is Sierra Leone’s highest civilian award.

After meeting all the required criteria, Ms. Mansaray was decorated with this well deserving award, one that all Sierra Leoneans should applaud. 

Written by: arianadiaries

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