By Oamr Bah
The executive director of Beakanyang has said that respecting the fundamental human rights of citizens could serve as a recipe for peace and sustainable development.
Mr Nfamara Jawneh made the remarks recently during an interface with the students of Masroor Senior Secondary School in West Coast Region.
According to him, in any country where human rights violation becomes rampant citizens could be forced to take the law into their own hands in defending their rights.
This, he argued could sometimes lead to serious problem for the countries thus making them ungovernable.
“Gambians have suffered a lot during the past 22years and I do hope that the new government will do everything possible to bring the human rights violators to book,” he said.
The government, he added, is the primary duty bearer of protecting and promoting the rights of citizens.
“It has an obligation as enshrined in the 1997 Constitution and international instruments such as Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Convention on the Rights of the Child and CEDAW to promote and protect the rights of citizens,” he said.
He added that their role as civil society organizations is to educate people about their rights, highlight human rights abuses and remind government of its obligations.
Beakanyang boss noted that parents and schools also have a responsibility in protecting the rights of children to enable them become responsible citizens.
He noted that human rights education could serve as an essential tool in building a culture of human rights thus leading to positive social change.
He emphasized that there cannot be any sustainable development and peace without respect for human rights.
He disclosed that over the years despite numerous challenges such as climate of fear among many Gambians, the organization continues to reach out to various parts of the country teaching students, young people and women their rights.
Mr Jawneh however expressed his confidence in the new government in protecting the rights of citizens but was quick to add that as primary duty bearer government needs to be reminded of its obligations.
Jawneh further revealed that this year they will be donating human rights educational materials to schools, teaching students on their rights, staging human rights quiz in schools and training of teacher coordinators.
The objective of the program is to teach students their rights and the rights of others thus promoting positive social change in our communities.
He used the opportunity to disclose plans to provide copies of UDHR booklets, sets of teacher manuals, CDs on history of human rights and posters of UDHR to the school in not too distance future.
“As young people you must believe in human rights, safeguard your rights and also respect the rights of others,” he added.