By Mustapha Darboe
The Vice President Fatoumatta Jallow-Tambajang has reiterated The Gambia’s desire to become a shining example of democracy and human rights protection in Africa.
“We are an emerging democracy with lots of challenges but we are using these challenges to transform The Gambia into a beacon of hope… We believe that The Gambia, small as it is, will someday be in the annals of the African history…,” Madame Tambajang said at the closing ceremony of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights yesterday.
She added: “The promotion and protection of human rights in Africa must continue to be a priority for all… Sustainable peace and development can only be achieved in our beloved continent when human rights of all are promoted, protected and guaranteed.”
The African Commission is the continent’s biggest human rights protection mechanism which was established by the African human rights charter.
The Commission is based in The Gambia where the charter was ratified with the support of former president Dawda Kairaba Jawara.
The newly elected chairperson of the African Commission, Soyata Maiga, praised Gambia for the role her first president played in the formation of the charter, adding that they are ready to help the country through its transition.
“The Commission will continue to support the government’s commitment towards the promotion of human rights, including the development and promulgation of a new constitution and the establishment of a national human rights commission which accords to the Paris Principles,” she said in a speech read by Lawrence Mute.
She said despite the progress made in the promotion and protection of human rights by state parties, the commission remains concern by the persistence of human rights violations in many areas.
“Civil conflicts persist, acts of terror continue to kill and maim our population; and African citizens continue to face poverty, unemployment and worsening food and nutrition insecurity. Our citizens, civil political, economic, social, cultural, and indeed people’s rights continue to be violated,” she added.
“These challenges are not new. The Commission, a body emanating from the will of state parties to the African Charter, constantly urges all stakeholders particularly states that have the primary responsibility to mobilise the required efforts to ensure the respect and implementation of the rights guaranteed by the Charter and other relevant human rights instruments.”
The two-week forum drew its participants from rights activists and civil society organisations across the continent.