By Maimuna Sey-Jawo
The Gambia Commission for Refugee (GCR) has recently held a two-day training on refugee protection and management for national human rights institutions.
The forum, held at the Ocean Bay Hotel in Bakau Cape Point, is organized by the Gambia Commission for Refugees in collaboration with its partners and funded by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.
The main aim of the forum was to enhance and build the capacity of the members of the legal service providers on refugee protection and management.
In his opening statement, the General Director of the Gambia Immigration Department Alhagie Buba Sanyang expressed gratitude to the participants for witnessing the forum.
According to Sanyang, the training of national human rights institutions on refugees is very timely and it will help build the participants’ knowledge and understanding of refugees.
He recalled that Gambia is a party to the 1951 refugee convention, the 1967 protocol and as well acceded to the 1960 OAU refugee convention. He added that the Gambia Commission for Refugees has created a robust protection system for refugees and other persons of concern.
Director Sanyang continued: “The Gambia is currently host to over seven thousand refugees from the sub-region and beyond, all of whom are integrated into our communities. This shows that there is the need to build the capacity of our national human rights institutions on refugee protection and management in order to strengthen the protection environment of refugees as part of UNHCR integration strategy.”
For his part Mr. Allabatu Jatta, representative from United Nations High Commission for Refugees, UNHCR, stressed that the Government of the Gambia is the primary custodian and protector of refugees and asylum seekers.
“They recognize and provide them with documentation and allow them access basic social service during emergency and post-emergency periods,” he said.
He noted that UNHCR is mandate to support the government where there are challenges or best practice to ensure that refugee and persons of concern to UNHCR received and enjoy dignified international protection and assistance support in the country of asylum.
Jatta said the two days’ workshop will equip participants with the requisite knowledge and experience to deal with current and future legal issues affecting refugees so that their rights are protected and safeguarded at all times.