By Saidou Baldeh
National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) director of legal matters and investigation has reminded Local Government Authorities (LGAs) that the Local Government Act 2002 as amended has empowered the local authorities to always apply human rights approach when delivering services to tax payers.
Mansour Jobe said human rights approach is fundamental in ensuring that there is equality in providing services to people.
Delivering presentations on introduction to human rights during nationwide capacity-building and sensitisation on human rights for local government authorities, including seyfolu, alkalolu, area council and governor’s office staff, Mr Jobe said NHRC was created to monitor human rights activities in The Gambia and to advise the government on human rights matters.
The nationwide capacity building sensitisation for all the eight local government areas in The Gambia is conducted in partnership with Gambia Association of Local Government Authorities (GALGA). Local authorities aim at bringing the government to the grass roots and enable citizens to effectively participate in making decisions on matters that affect their daily lives.
The capacity building sensitisation aims to create awareness and increase the understanding of local authorities about human rights and human rights-based approach in their day-to-day duties. It was funded by the European Union under its 11th EDF programme through the National Authorising Officer Support Unit.
NHRC director of human resources, Paul Mendy said his commission is an independent institution that was established in line with the Paris Principles, and mandated among others to promote and protect human rights in The Gambia. “NHRC has a critical and crucial role to play in the building of a culture of respect for human rights and a Gambia where everyone enjoys their human rights.”
He said as a bridge between the state, its agencies and the public, NHRC sees it as part of its functions to galvanise and coordinate efforts, from the local authorities, towards the creation of a culture of human rights in The Gambia.
The Local Government Act 2002 stipulates the powers and functions of local government authorities and the obligations they have to promote, respect, protect and fulfill the human rights of their people. “These rights include the rights to education (and establishment, operation, monitoring, supervising and management of schools and other educational and training facilities), health, birth registration, recreation, promotion of sanitation practices, social services and the general upliftment of the community,” he said.
Speaking during the commencement of the sensitisation at Basse, the chairman of Basse Area Council and first vice president of GALGA, Foday Danjo, said creating discussion on human rights for local government authorities will enable them to effectively apply human rights approach in their daily activities.
Chief executive officer of Janjangbureh Area Council, Pa Sait Ceesay said the gathering is important because it will enhance local government authorities understanding of the real creed human rights and democracy.