The deputy permanent secretary at the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education Mr Adama Jimba Jobe, on Friday launched the Gambia Senior Secondary School Human Rights Club.
The club firts of its kind in the country was initiated by Beakanyang with support from the US Embassy in Banjul.
In his launching statement, Mr. Jobe applauded the initiative and assured his ministry’s commitment in ensuring the success of the programme while expressing his delight to be associated with the initiative.
He lamented that the gross human rights violations that took place under the former regime were perpetuated by Gambians on Gambians.
He however urged students not to allow any political party or group to use them to abuse the rights of others.
He expressed his satisfaction with the level of interest among members of the club in learning more about their rights.
Delivering the keynote address, Nfamara Jawneh, Executive Director of Beakanyang, said the programme forms part of a six-month project being implemented by his organization.
According to him, the objective of the project is to promote human rights education in schools and to build a culture of human rights in Gambian schools and communities.
“It also seeks to popularize the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Gambian schools, alleviate the culture of fear in New Gambia and promote good governance and political pluralism,” he noted.
He added: “Ten schools across the country including Gambia Senior School are benefiting from this programme but our wish is to see it cover every upper and senior school in the country by 2020”.
The rights activist added that they also wanted to inspire and nurture a cohort of young human rights defenders and advocates in Gambia as well as to promote social cohesion, peace and unity in New Gambia.
He recalled that during the past 22 years Gambians have witnessed gross human rights violations such as arbitrary arrest and detention, media censorship, disappearances, torture.
He however cautioned that the country should never allow such human rights violations to happen again.
According to him, it’s due to the dictatorship we had in the country many people were forced to flee for fear of their lives; many were tortured, disappeared and some killed. He recalled that people were supressed and forced to remain silent in the country’s governance issues due to the culture of fear.
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, rights such as the rights to education and access to information are fundamental human rights guaranteed by law.
He called for respect for the rule of law, tolerance and unity among Gambians in this crucial moment of our democracy.
Over 100 members of the Club attended the launch characterized with drama on dangers of child marriage, poems, and speeches.
About 200 copies of human rights booklets, posters and CDs were donated to students courtesy of Youth for Human Rights International, USA.
The ceremony was chaired by the human rights teacher coordinator of the school Mr. Khan and Beakanyang PRO Alhagie F.S Sora.
Mr. Ceesay on behalf of the school administration welcomed Beakanyang to the school and reassured them of their full support while the President of the club delivered the vote of thanks.