Beakanyang and Youth for Human Rights The Gambia over the weekend celebrated the international human rights day at Talinding Annex Lower Basic School.
The celebration also witnessed the launch of a human rights club in the school courtesy of US Embassy in Banjul. The celebration began with a march-past led by Scout band from Gas Station in Churchill’s Town to Talinding Annex Lower Basic School.
Speaking on the occasion, Nfamara Jawneh executive director of Beakanyang and coordinator of Youth for Human Rights The Gambia said the day was meant to reflect on the achievements registered in promoting human rights and to highlight the challenges.
According to Jawneh, during the past 22 years Gambia had witnessed gross human rights violations such as arbitrary arrest and detention, media censorship, disappearances and torture.
He cautioned that the country should never allow such human rights violations to happen again. “As a result of the dictatorship we had in the country many people were forced to flee the country for fear of their lives; many were tortured, disappeared and some killed,” he said.
He recalled that people were supressed and forced to remain silent in the country’s governance issues due to fear culture.
Meanwhile, in launching the human rights club, Jawneh said the activity which also coincided with international human rights day was timely and relevant.
According to him, it formed part of a six-month project funded by the US Embassy to among other things 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 accountable governance and political pluralism,” he said.
He added that the project also aims to inspire and nurture a cohort of young human rights defenders and advocates as well as promote social cohesion, peace and unity in the Gambia.
He called for respect of human rights in the country and urged children to stand up for their rights at all cost.
The rights activist used the opportunity to hail the new government for its commitment in promoting and protecting human rights citing the coming of the National Human Rights Commission, Truth Reconciliation and Reparation Commission and Constitutional Review Commission.
He reaffirmed his organization’s commitment in promoting human rights in the country while hailing the Youth for Human Rights International in US for supporting their work.