Nearly five hundred students from Charles Jow Memorial Academy in Bundung were on Monday sensitized on human rights.
The sensitization forms part of the launch of a human rights club in the school by Beakanyang, a human rights NGO.
In his keynote address, Mr. Nfamara Jawneh, the executive director of Beakanyang said for 22 years Gambians were not enjoying their fundamental rights and freedoms. He said it was only when we defeated a dictator in December 2016 that we started to enjoy most of our rights as citizens.
According to Jawneh, during the past 22 years Gambia had witnessed gross human rights violations such as arbitrary arrest and detention, media censorship, disappearances, torture. He cautioned that the country should never allow such human rights violations to happen again.
Jawneh stressed that human rights are standards that allow all people to live with dignity, freedom, equality, justice, and peace. He added that every person has these rights simply because they are human beings.
According to him, students like any other human beings have rights such as the rights to education and access to information, rights to one’s religion, opinion, speech and expression, right to participate in cultural life, freedom of association and right to participate in political process as guaranteed by law.
The rights activist also called for respect for the rule of law, tolerance and unity among Gambians in this crucial moment of our democracy.
He warned against arbitrary arrest, imprisonment, torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment of students.
Meanwhile, the organization also donated about four hundred copies of human rights booklets courtesy of Youth for Human Rights International and US Embassy.
In his launching statement, Honorable Saikou Marong National Assembly member for Latri Kunda Sabiji hailed Beakanyang and the US Embassy for the great initiative.
He reaffirmed the government’s commitment in protecting human rights, thus cited the establishment of the National Human Rights, Truth Reconciliation and Reparation and Constitutional Review Commissions as clear testimonies.
“These developments are a clear indication of government’s commitment in protecting human rights of citizens and for us at the National Assembly we put aside our party colors and unanimously passed these bills,” he said.
Speaking earlier, Madam Sukai Sagnia principal of Charles Jow Memoral Academy applauded Beakanyang for choosing her school out of the lot to participate in its human rights education in schools program.
She assured them of her school’s resolve in making the club successful.