Sierra Leone – Mariatu Bangura

Joe Hepworth
ICLRS Research Advisor

Mariatu Bangura, Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone is a small country on the west coast of Africa. It is a democratic state based on the rule of law. Law is derived from the constitution, common law based on English system, and customary law. Presently using the 1991 Constitution.

Sierra Leone has pluralism, tolerance and religions freedom. Islam predominates, with some Christians and indigenous religion.

Sierra Leone had a war, and used religion to settle the war. Most of the Muslims are North and Christians are south. End of civil war in 2002 brought migration. The country experiences no serious religious or ethnic conflicts. Religions co-exist with each other. Inter-marriage between Christians and Muslims is acceptable.

Catholic, Methodist, LDS, Shiite, Sunni, all co-exist.

Free practice of religion guarantied by the Constitution, subject to the rights of others. No person shall be hindered in the freedom of conscience, including thought, religion, as well as the freedom to change his belief. Religious practices just cannot affect others. The government cannot prevent others from providing religious instruction. No person shall be compelled to take an oath contrary to his religion.

Ministry of Social Welfare regulates religious groups. All religions must register. If a group registers with the ministry, they get a duty free waiver.

If religion is to be meaningful to people, they must coexist peacefully with each other. And be tolerant of one another. Religion is a vital component of peace.

There is no regulation or rule on what religion the children will be. They choose their own religion.