day training workshop for Gambia Immigration Department organised by the
Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA) recently ended at
the Paradise Suites Hotel.
In his opening remarks, Gaye Sowe the executive director of IHRDA welcomed the participants and highlighted that IHRDA has been working with some authorities of The Gambia public security personnel.
He noted that IHRDA conceived the human rights capacity building programme for security agencies in 2015 and priority at the time was given to the police force, as a result of the available means at that time.
He further noted that because IHRDA understood the importance of this programme to the various arms of The Gambia’s public security agencies, including officers from other agencies in the training programs.
He emphasised that records have shown that from all the eight training workshops it has so far conducted with the public security forces across the country between October 2015 and March 2016, IHRDA has reached out to about twenty-five Immigration Officers.
He explained that the Immigrations Department is very much involved in defining the first and the last impressions the outside world has about The Gambia, adding that non-nationals are bound to pass through their services at their entry.
“During their stay and at their exit of the country, at all levels of interaction with your services, they build an impression about the country and its systems, even at the point of exiting the country, the way you treat a non-national, or even a Gambian residing outside the country, could completely change their perception about this country,” he stated.
Mr. Sowe said the training programme seeks to enable the participants to better understand the relevance of the respect of human rights in the success of their duties as Immigration Officers.
He disclosed that in addition to the training workshop, IHRDA shall produce a harmonised version of the human rights manual for Gambia public security agencies, which would be handed to the various institutions in this phase of the programme like the Immigration Department, the Prisons Services and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency.
Mr. Sowe outlined that IHRDA remains very much willing and happy to provide technical support to the public security corps, as well as other state institutions with a human rights mandate in The Gambia, especially when the means are available.
Mr. Sowe pointed out that the programme was funded under the Canadian Fund for local initiatives and expressed gratitude to the Canadian government for the continued support it has accorded IHRDA for it capacity building initiatives.