By Landing Ceesay
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in a press statement said it has started investigating the Bilal Boarding school fire incident.
“NHRC is currently investigating this sad incident to establish the exact cause of the fire and the circumstances surrounding the occurrence. With the outcome of this investigation, NHRC will engage with the relevant Government authorities to ensure that there is full accountability,” the Commission statement reads.
NHRC reiterated that State institutions with oversight for children’s protection, in particular the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Welfare, should ensure that childcare centres and private residential care homes, including boarding schools of every sort, conform to the dictates of Sections 198 – 203 of the Children’s Act 2005, with Minimum Standard of Care implemented in full.
“It is the obligation of these State institutions to regularly inspect these facilities, rigorously monitor the implementation of these standards and guidelines, and severely penalise those care institutions and facilities found wanting,” NHRC said.
The commission called on the school and other relevant authorities to ensure that students who were present at the time of the incident receive the necessary psychosocial support as they overcome the shock and trauma the fire incident may have caused.
It stated that The Government, parents and caregivers must always seek the best interest of children and ensure their safety either under care or in their homes as protected by law.
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) extended its deepest condolences to the families of the victims, their fellow students and friends; and wished a speedy recovery to those students who are currently hospitalised.
It could be recalled that on 17th of October 2021 fire incident occurred in Bilal Boarding School in Yarambamba in the West Coast Region that claimed five lives and many other sustained serious injuries, according to the police.
Aside from the five students reported dead at the scene, others too have been reported to have died later at the hospital due to the injuries they sustained from the incident.