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EU ambassador urges gov’t to stay committed to security sector reforms

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By Aisha Tamba

The EU Ambassador to The Gambia, Corrado Pampaloni, has urged the government to continue its commitment to Security Sector Reform.

Speaking at the DCAF Banjul conference on strengthening the efficiency and accountability of The Gambia security sector held at the International Conference Center in Bijilo, Ambassador Pampaloni pointed out that the failure of the draft constitution was a great setback for SSR.

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He added that the EU stands by the government of The Gambia on all reforms on the path of democracy, rule of law, and national reconciliation. “In this respect, we think that security sector reform is of significant importance because building trust and citizens’ support to new democratic institutions and security forces is a prerequisite in the national reconciliation process.”

The ambassador said amid West Africa’s deteriorating security condition, The Gambia presents a positive storytelling with a renascent democracy since 2017 after two decades of brutal dictatorship. “However, if the first presidential term of Adama Barrow was a buffer period for rebooting democracy in The Gambia, the second one should be time for democratic consolidation and national reconciliation through the delivery of key reforms.

“The Gambia government took a bold move to launch a very broad reform agenda of which SSR is a crucial component. The government demonstrated an impressive commitment from the beginning, but there is the challenge of sustaining this momentum. The constitution reform process, the transitional process, and SSR are very much interlinked but we believe more can be done to coordinate among the processes,” he stated.

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The Swiss ambassador, Andrea Semadeni, said Switzerland’s financial contribution to security sector reform in The Gambia is embedded in longstanding relationships in the field of migration between The Gambia and Switzerland. He added that it is a direct result of the migration cooperation agreement signed by The Gambia and Switzerland in January. 

 The Director General of the Gambia Immigration Department, Seedy Touray, spoke on behalf of the Minister of Interior, telling the  gathering that The Gambia government is committed to enhancing the accountability of its security institutions for the prosperous Gambia.

He noted that the Gambia faces several challenges in governance for security institutions, “starting from outdated laws, as the case may be. Security institutions have evolved over the past couple years,” he said.

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