European Union-funded Access to Justice and Legal Education Project commenced
on Monday a 10-day tour to the rural areas in the North Bank Region to raise
awareness on access to Justice.
The project is being implemented through its partners such as the National Council for Civic Education (NCCE), NALA, ADRS and FLAG.
It aims to foster better democratic and economic governance in The Gambia, through improving access to justice and legal education.
The project is out to improve access to legal services/remedial justice, especially for vulnerable groups; legal education, training and research skills.
The project focuses on a civic awareness campaign geared towards ensuring that local communities are aware of their basic legal rights and obligations and how, and where, to seek redress.
The overall goal of the campaign is to enhance access to justice through civic and legal education and the provision of information on available justice mechanisms.
The specific objectives are to promote public awareness on civic rights and duties; promote awareness of the obligations of law enforcement agencies as well as disseminate knowledge and enhance confidence in the tripartite justice system.
Speaking at the opening ceremony at Kinteh Kunda, Janet R. Sallah-Njie, a key expert in modern law, said that through the campaign they would be able to address civic rights, the duties of communities, raise their awareness to enable them seek redress and appreciate their roles and responsibilities in a democratic nation.
The project was successfully completed in West Coast Region, Lower River Region and Upper River Region and she said a six-month extension was benefitting the North Bank and Central River regions.
Yusupha Bojang, NCCE Programme Officer, said the project came as a result of a study conducted in 2012.
The findings of the study revealed that many Gambian people, especially rural communities, lack knowledge on access to justice, he said, adding that this is largely due to low literacy rates, inadequate information on existing laws and also poor dissemination of information.
“The project wants to address those challenges,” he said.
Fa Balla Kinteh, Chief of Lower Badibu District, said they were blessed and fortunate to host the project in the North Bank Region.
He said the project would help them to know how and where to access justice when the need arises, as he thanked the funders and implementers.
Lamin Ceesay of Kerewan Area Council Chairman, in his remarks, said there was nothing more important than being within a gathering that would bring peace and development to the nation.
He urged communities to make best use of the knowledge gained as well as share it with others.
Ebrima Dampha, Governor of the North Bank Region, urged villagers to live together as one people, saying if they know their rights and responsibilities they would live together in peace and harmony.