Hundreds of thousands of climate change activists packed streets in Manhattan, America, two weeks ago to chant, whistle, drum, strum and broadcast demands on poster boards, shirts and stickers – all calling on governments and corporations to pledge firmer commitments to tackling global warming. The convergence, as I saw on the television, drew participants from across not only US but the world at large, representing unions, environmental lobbies, scientists, politicians, students and even religious groups.
I was not surprised when I heard the journalist Clark reporting that it is the largest gathering of its kind in American history, attended by an estimated number of 600,000 people. I hope this will not be a mere fantasy but a day in which the international community, including The Gambia, will take climate change more seriously and critically think about saving the environment from climate change effects.
I became overwhelmed by the evidence that the global climate is changing after meticulously reading a report by the International Panel on Climate Change, a scientific body established by the United Nations.
As global citizens, we should consider the vulnerability and exposure of human and natural systems, the observed impacts and future risks of climate change, and the potential for and limits for adaptation.
The government of The Gambia has recognised the existence of climate change and made efforts to face the challenges. However, more is needed, especially in raising awareness and being more committed. This will trigger serious attention from the NGO and media fraternity for collaborative actions in combating global warming.
To cut a long story short, we need actions and no more delays. Climate change is real and accelerating!!!
Saikou Suwareh Jabai
Fighting FGM in The Gambia
I was very happy to read an article in your credible paper of a training programme for young Gambians on FGM to be spearheaded by a Gambian girl based in the US, Jaha Dukureh.
A lot of girls have the misfortune of facing female genital mutilation (FGM) and child marriage, especially during the August and December holidays in the provinces. I am deeply concerned about the government’s failure to come up with strict laws against these harmful practices .The government and anti-FGM organisations need to work more intensively within communities to protect and support girls and enforce laws to make sure violations are adequately addressed.
FGM and child marriage are human rights violations and have a host of negative physical and psychological implications for girls and women. The Gambia is a party to the Protocol of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa which requires State parties to prohibit both FGM and child marriage and to ensure “protection of women who are at risk of being subjected to harmful practices.”
Moreover, The Gambia has also ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), and both the Committees associated with these treaties have called for an end to FGM and child marriage.
I urge the government of The Gambia to take urgent action in accordance with its international, regional and domestic obligations to ensure that:
-Immediate steps are taken to protect, and provide support and shelter to girls escaping FGM and child marriage and to ensure that at-risk girls are not subjected to FGM at any time and in particular during the school holidays.
-Laws to be promulgated against FGM and child marriage to effectively launch proper investigations and prosecutions of violations.
-All concerned national and local level authorities work together to put into place protective measures within at-risk communities to protect girls from both child marriage and FGM, and to ensure that they are able to continue their education.
-Awareness-raising and education campaigns are conducted to change cultural perception and beliefs on FGM and child marriage and to acknowledge them as human rights violations with harmful consequences.