The United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has released a set of documents on Sierra Leone under the Freedom of Information Act.
Seen by MambaTV, the released documents are described as “the Annual Reviews on Sierra Leone, including the calendars of events, covering the years 1991, 1992 and 1993”.
Included in the documents are chronological listing of events by month which represent significant activities of the government of Sierra Leone and its officials, including the president, head of states and ministers at the time; information about the state of the rebel war and related peace talks; significant activities of international organizations and foreign donors and governments; information about the state of the economy; the NPRC overthrow; and information about return to multi-party democracy and the related constitutional review. The documents contain a wealth of information pertinent to the state of affairs in the country at the time.
A memo accompanying the release states as follows: “We acknowledge that releasing information on this issue would increase public knowledge about our relations with Sierra Leone. But section 27(1)(a) recognises that the effective conduct of international relations depends upon maintaining trust and confidence between governments. The disclosure of some of the information in these reviews could potentially damage the UK’s bilateral relationship with Sierra Leone. This would reduce the UK Government’s ability to protect and promote UK interests through its relations with Sierra Leone, which would not be in the public interest. For these reasons we consider that the public interest in maintaining this exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.”
Consistent with the last sentence in the paragraph above and for the purpose of informing the Sierra Leone public, MambaTV will be hosting a broadcast and panel discussion in the coming days to discuss the contents of the documents.