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Forum discuses human rights issues

Jan 3, 2012, 2:03 PM | Article By: Sainey M.K. Marenah

The Foundation for Legal Aid, Research and Empowerment, FLARE, a civil society organization Friday held a public forum on human rights as part of activities marking International Human Rights Day.

The forum, held at the American Corner along Kairaba Avenue, was on the theme “Celebrating Human Rights”, and aimed to create a platform to discuss the impact, successes and challenges in the promotion and protection of human rights, and how to empower people.
Annually, December 10th marks International Human Rights Day in commemoration of the proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Paris on 10th December 1948.

According to FLARE officials, the aimed of the forum is to create a platform to discuss impact, successes and challenges in the promotion and protection of human rights, and how to empower people.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Njundu Drammeh, a member of FLARE, who moderated the forum, underscored the significance of such forums, noting that human rights issues are crucial.

According to him, the year 2011 was a very important year for human rights, citing the Arab Spring, among others, as an example.

Noting that the quest for human dignity is paramount, Drammeh said the Universal Declaration of Human Rights calls for respect for human dignity.

“The importance of human rights has been underlined over and over again this year across the globe as people mobilized and demanded for justice, dignity, equality, participation,” he said, adding that these are rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

He stated that the rights of Gambian citizens are guaranteed in the Constitution, and other international human rights instruments that give dignity to human beings.

Drammeh also called for enjoyment of freedom of speech, freedom from fear, freedom of association, among others, which he said, are the bedrock of any decent and developed society.

“The denial of human rights is the denial of justice. Human rights should be respected and protected,” he noted.

He further stated that FLARE with its commitment to the principles of human rights, rule of law and good governance will pursue its achievement vigorously and steadfastly.

Madi Jobarteh, a member of FLARE, looked at human rights and freedoms as a matter of capacity building and empowerment, in which rights and freedoms are seen as a pedestal on which a human being stands to dare and to explore every vista of his or her vast potentialities.

As a human rights civil society organization, Jobarteh added, FLARE holds the view that human rights lie at the core of peace and development.

“Without the respect for rights and freedoms not only is peace unattainable, but the path to socio-economic growth and political independence are also compromised,” he stated.

This, he added, is because rights and freedoms enable a human being to seek and acquire the means and tools willingly to direct his or her own development either individually or collectively.

“Where this opportunity is lacking, human beings fail to reach their full potentials and become the victims of domination, exploitation, oppression, ignorance and poverty,” he opined.