Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA) in collaboration
with the West Africa Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCRH)
based in Dakar with funding from the Dutch Embassy in Dakar, Senegal on Tuesday
held a two-day training on human rights for personnel of The Gambia Police
The training, which was held at Metzy Residence Hotel, was designed to enhance the capacity of The Gambia Police Force in enforcing human rights protection for all.
Ms Seraphine Wakana, the UN Resident Coordinator in The Gambia, in her opening remarks, underscored the importance of the training, saying refocusing and retraining The Gambia Police Force is particularly important following the end of 22 years of dictatorship and systematic violations of human rights.
She acknowledged that as the main body responsible for maintaining law and order as well as protecting life and property in the country, the training would go a long way in helping the police ensure a safe and secure society for all.
“Promotion and protection of human rights by law enforcement officers is an essential part of a successful functioning democracy, since the police are the guardians of the law and the first line of defense for human rights”, she stated.
Madam Wakana indicated that when law enforcement agencies and officers are seen to respect, uphold and defend human rights, public confidence is built, and community cooperation fostered, thereby contributing to the peaceful resolution of conflicts and complaints and successful legal prosecutions in court.
For his part, Gaye Sowe, executive director of IHRDA, said the training workshop was conceived as a way to expose police officers to the various human rights obligations contained both in national laws and in several regional and international human rights instruments to which The Gambia is a party.
The training, he went on, is an effort to ensure police officers are aware that there are human rights standards they have to abide by in executing their duties.
Deputizing for the Inspector General of Police, ASP Jerreh Sambou said as police officers they cannot effectively execute their duties without understanding human rights. He thus thanked sponsors for their foresight.
ASP Sambou acknowledged that respect for human rights will build the image of The Gambia Police Force.