The Attorney General and Minister of Justice, has stated that the issue of human rights is not only a governmental affair, saying it’s an all inclusion requiring everyone’s involvement.
‘’When we talk about human rights, we’re talking about the rights of everybody, every aspect from health to education, so it becomes necessary for everybody to be involved and participate,’’ Hon. Mama Fatima Singhateh said on Wednesday during the opening of a two-day validation of the National Human Rights Commission Draft Bill 2016.
The Bill sought to ensure the establishment of a Human Rights Commission in The Gambia. The validation is jointly organised by the Ministry of Justice and the United Nations Development Programme.
Minister Singhateh said the gathering is a manifestation of government’s continues commitment towards putting in place sound structures and institutions for the fulfillment of its commitments to the people of The Gambia. She added that the promotion and protection of human rights is the primary responsibility of the state and the state can only be able to do that with the help of a robust national human rights framework implemented by an equally strong and efficient national human right body.
‘’The government of The Gambia under the leadership of President Jammeh has not relented in its efforts to continue promoting the advancement and improvement of the rights of people from all walks of life. The concept of human rights is not new to The Gambia and the validation is a further step towards advancing our demotic and international mandate,’’ she affirmed.
She added that the justifiability of fundamental rights is itself guaranteed under Chapter IV of the 1997 Constitution. “The Gambia has over the years attracted praise for its positive policies towards the disabled as well as its progressive human rights dispositions in the milieu of women and children’s rights,” she said, adding that The Gambia has taken considerable steps in ensuring the establishment of the Commission.
Attorney General Singhateh noted that the general mandate of any human rights commission is to promote and protect the rights of every individual in the state, therefore, setting up the commission in The Gambia, she added will go a long way in assisting the government in fulfilling its primary mandate.
According to her, the expectation of any human rights commission would be to identify and investigate human rights abuses, bring those responsible for human rights violations to justice and provide remedies and redress for victims. “This responsibility entrusted to the Commission would not be adequately fulfilled without the development of close ties between the Commission, NGOs and Civil Society.”
Ade Mamonyane Lekoetje, the UNDP Resident Representative in The Gambia, said the validation is timely in brining Gambia closer to achieving its aspirations in the protection and promotion of human rights. “As part of UN mandates to promote inclusive and participatory development, we engage strongly in safeguarding human rights and advocate human rights base approach in development interventions and national development endeavours,” she said.
She commended the Ministry of Justice, government and people of The Gambia for moving forward in the establishment of the Commission. “We strongly believe that the Commission will help in increasing awareness and understanding on human rights instruments, mechanism and norms,’’ she concluded.
by Omar Wally