12 April 2017 - Since graduating from the Centre in 1998 with his LLM degree, Mr Melron Nicol-Wilson has been an outstanding ambassador of the Centre's values of excellence and ubuntu, through his work as a human rights defender in Sierra Leone and abroad.
Melron Nicol-Wilson is an alumnus of a unique and distinguished pedigree. He joined the Centre in 1998, with academic distinctions from Fourah Bay College and the Sierra Leone Bar School where finished second in a class of 22. In the course of his LLM studies here, he demonstrated a synthesis of intellectual aptitude, the capacity for rigorous study and an indelible personal commitment to improving the lives of others with the instrument of law.
Establishing the first legal aid organisation in Sierra Leone showed the world that his mission would be to serve his country and to reach the majority of its people with the message of social justice. He did this with unrelenting courage, singular initiative and unwavering dedication. He did so with no regard for popularity, personal reward or career prospects.
In a country broken by war, he rolled up his sleeves and took the most disadvantaged people on his back. He ventured beyond human rights theory into the real world. In the process, he rewrote the operational handbook for human rights NGOs in post-conflict societies.
He has engineered change through law reform in the area of equality between men and women and worked tirelessly for the creation of a Legal Aid Board in Sierra Leone.
On 25 May 2007 - Africa Day - Mr Nicol-Wilson became the first recipient of the Vera Chirwa Human Rights Prize, awarded to Centre alumni for exceptional achievement. The prize recognised his dynamism and courageous pioneering spirit in establishing the Lawyers’ Centre for Legal Assistance (LAWCLA) in Sierra Leone, his unwavering commitment to improving the lives of people in Africa and his outstanding professional achievements.
In a country scarred by conflict, Mr Nicol-Wilson has shown courage and determination, distinguished leadership qualities and a high sense of professionalism. His pioneering achievements, recognised in Sierra Leone and abroad, are a testament to how one man can cause the lives of many to be uplifted and the fortunes of a nation to change positively.
His subsequent studies at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute for Human Rights in Sweden, his time as a Research Fellow at Columbia University in the USA, his numerous publications and his role as counsel at the Special Court for Sierra Leone attest to his keen intellect and international reputation.
In nominating and in confirming the nomination of Mr Nicol-Wilson as Ombudsman of the Republic of Sierra Leone, President Ernest Koroma and the people’s representatives respectively have recognised an outstanding lawyer and the quintessential public servant. They have placed the well-being of the people of Sierra Leone in the hands of one of the most capable, competent and committed human beings ever to wear a wig and a gown - in the service of a nation and for the upliftment of its people.
The Centre for Human Rights is extremely proud to be associated with an alumnus who has demonstrated such dedication to advancing the cause of human rights in Africa, and who embodies much hope and promise for justice, the rule of law and - ultimately - the human and institutional development of the Republic of Sierra Leone.
The Centre wishes him wisdom, courage and every success in the undertakings of this high office.