Nov 11, 2009, 1:27 PM
Madam Janet Sallah-Njie, President of the Female Lawyers Association (FLAG), has described the passing of the women's bill as a milestone in the country as far as women empowerment is concerned.
The FLAG president made this remark while presenting a paper on "Women's Act 2010 Strengths and Weaknesses Enforcement Mechanism and Challenges in Implementation" during a two-day seminar on women and gender.
The aim of the forum was to popularize local and international gender instruments for which we are targeting women leaders, policy and decision-makers at the central and local levels.
According to her, the Act, having been enacted by the National Assembly this year, become law and enforceable in The Gambia when it received Presidential Assent. The original Bill went through a very wide and comprehensive consultative process.
She added that the way forward is, notwithstanding, the omission of Article 5 of the Protocol. The Women's Act 2010 is indeed a commendable innovation taken by The Gambia for the domestication of CEDAW and the African Protocol.
While commending the government for this laudable initiative, she said: "It is also pertinent to note and recognize the participation of the civil society in The Gambia, for the intensive mobilization that led to the ratification of the Protocol and the eventual enactment of the Act."
The FLAG boss recognised the active role of civil society in formulation of laws on the human rights of women, active participation and engagement, lobbying and raising awareness of parliamentarians, validation and review process.
The government, public institutions and the private sector are called upon to take note of all the provisions of the Act, and to ensure they are incorporated in all public documents and instruments, as well as the internal regulations and policy guidelines.
It is also pertinent to note that compliance with the Act is mandatory, and non-compliance may attract criminal penalty as prescribed in Sections 73 and 74 of the Act.
She concluded by saying that, to end on a very positive note, "I would conclude that this piece of legislation is the most progressive enactment that has ever been passed by the National Assembly."
Its full realisation would have the positive effect of uplifting and improving the socio-economic fabric of The Gambia, for the benefit of men, women, boys and girls.