UN experts criticise Ombudsman’s Office

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The statement also commented on the proposed National Human Rights Commission: 

“The government has debated for a long time now with the idea of a[n] NHRC. The draft law establishing it is before the National Assembly. If this is to be an independent and impartial institution, it is certainly worth pursuing and must be established in accordance with the Paris Principles. It could not only become an effective monitoring mechanism but also a mediator between the State and its citizens to begin a genuine dialogue on various human rights that need further development and protection in The Gambia.”

On the ratification of international treaties, it stated: “It is not clear from the laws including, the Constitution, what the process is to ratify international conventions, and what the status of such conventions – and customary international law – is in the domestic system.”

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The statement urged government to prioritise the formal ratification of the Convention Against Torture (CAT) and the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT) which will allow a national system of regular prison monitoring by independent experts, and the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights aiming at the abolition of the death penalty. 

The statement said issues regarding the obligation to protect persons in situations of vulnerability such as the continued practice of female genital mutilation on women and girls, violence against LGBTI persons and threats against journalists and human rights defenders will be addressed in respective reports to be issued later.

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