Speaker lauds lawmakers’ respect for human rights

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

The speaker of the National Assembly has underscored the significance of lawmakers in ensuring respect for human right.

Speaker Mariam Jack-Denton was speaking on Monday at the start of a day training on the role of parliament in safeguarding human rights in The Gambia. The convergence held at a local hotel in Senegambia brought together parliamentarians, human right activists, civil societies among other stakeholders.

 “Lawmakers have an obligation by virtue of their legislative functions to ensure that effective measures are taken to prevent human right violations, and to ensure that national laws provide practical and effective means by which remedies are sought for alleged violations of human rights,” she said.

The day’s convergence, she went on, would therefore enhance not only the potentials of the human rights committee to engage on a range of constitutional and human right issues, but to ensure that the government and all stakeholders in national development adhere to the principles of protecting the rights and liberties of the people.

“The training will provide the much needed impetus, skills and capacity for the National Assembly to ensure effective oversight on how public institutions perform within the framework of safeguarding human rights and constitutional matters.”

EU Ambassador to The Gambia, Attila Lajos, said the EU provided funding to ARTICLE 19 and its partners to strengthen human rights during the transition in The Gambia. A key component of the project, he added, is geared towards assisting National Assembly to set up a committee on human rights and constitutional matters to focus and priorities the promotion and protection of human rights in this honorable institution.

EU Ambassador indicated that The Gambia has charted its own course through an extraordinary democratic transformation from the rule of an iron fist to the rule of the people. “The world has watched with hope and admiration as Gambians embraced the peaceful transfer of power. We believed that this parliament has a unique opportunity to breathe life into Gambia’s newly found democracy.”

Regional Director, ARTICLE 19 Senegal/ West Africa, Fatou Jagne Senghore, reiterated their commitment to support the newly established and first-ever parliament select committee on human rights and constitutional matters with a view to better assisting the government in the implementation of its human rights obligation.

The role of the committees, she added, is also to provide the public, civil society organisations and other stakeholders with the opportunity to access and make representation to the National Assembly on certain matters.

“As human rights are essential to democracy and development, one of the key roles of the human rights committees is to contribute to building a culture of human rights policies, laws and others means so that ordinary Gambians can feel the change.”

Head of Finance and Administration of IHRDA, Amie Njie, stated that IHRDA is impressed with the decision of the National Assembly to concretize their commitment to the promotion of human rights in The Gambia by putting in place a “Parliamentary Select Committee on Human Rights and Constitutional Matters”    

Author: Momodou Jawo