Institute for the Advancement of Children’s Rights (IACR) is very concerned
about the reported pardoning, as contained in a news release from the Ministry
of Justice of the Gambia, of Mr Svein Agesandakar, convicted for child abuse
related offences committed in the Gambia. It is evident that Mr Svein
Agesandakar has a deplorable track record of molesting and abusing young children.
Whilst the IACR recognizes the legitimacy of granting pardon to prisoners
pursuant to section 82 of the 1997 constitution of the Gambia, such a facility
must be the outcome of a process underpinned by transparency, objectivity and
thorough consideration of the views and concerns of the victims.
IACR calls on the Committee for the Exercise of the prerogative of mercy to recommend the revocation, to the president of the republic, of the decision to pardon Mr Svein Agesandakar . It is our strong belief that the best interests of children in the Gambia is served by requiring Mr.Agesandakar to fully consummate his jail term to help serve as a deterrent to both him and others like him. Further, upon his release, strong and effective safeguards must be put in place to ensure that he does not engage in sexual activity with children again.
Finally, IACR takes this opportunity to remind the Government of the Gambia to of its international legal commitments and obligations to protect and promote the rights and welfare of the child as enshrined under the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC) and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Indeed the promise of the above instruments is given laudable domestic impetus through the children’s act of 2005 which contains very strong provisions against child abuse and molestation.
Barrister Malick HB Jallow Esq.
IACR was established in December 2013 by the Gambian Lawyer Malick H.B. Jallow Esq. who is also the President of the Institute. The IACR is a non-governmental, non-profit, impartial and non-partisan organization with a mandate to promote and protect the rights of children in Gambia through the provision of legal support and assistance to indigent children in conflict with the law.