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Juvenile justice task force chair speaks

Jan 27, 2012, 12:45 PM | Article By: Sainey M.K. Marenah

The chairperson of the Taskforce on Juvenile Justice in The Gambia has expressed the need for priority to be given to the implementation of the recommendations made by stakeholders with regard to the improvement of the juvenile justice system in the country.

Malick H.B Jallow, state counsel at the Attorney General’s Chambers and chairperson of the government taskforce on juvenile justice in The Gambia, was speaking in an interview with this reporter on Monday.

The taskforce, he said, has been striving to garner the requisite will and resolve from the stakeholders to juvenile justice in The Gambia towards the timely and effective implementation of the recommendations.

“This, we believe, is absolutely vital in enhancing the protection and promotion of the welfare of children in this country,” Jallow stated.

Jallow, who has also worked with the International Criminal Court based in the Hague, also underscored some of the challenges facing juvenile justice in The Gambia, which according to him range from capacity issues to resource and policy constraints.

However, he went on, “the overriding challenge in my opinion is the absence of an effective coordination mechanism to ensure that all stakeholders are on the same page.

“This is why the implementation of the recommendations should be a top priority for all stakeholders, as it addresses the major challenges to the juvenile justice system in this country,” he added.

He explained that the formation of the taskforce emanates  from a forum held between the 12th and 13th of October 2011 when the Department of Social Welfare and the Children’s Court, in collaboration with UNICEF, convened a forum for the stakeholders in the juvenile justice system of The Gambia to map the way forward for the system.

 “At the end of the two-day deliberations, recommendations were put forward by the participants for a more effective and efficient juvenile justice system,” he said, noting that participants also agreed to set up a taskforce to follow up on the adoption and effective implementation of the said recommendations.

 The taskforce, he went on, has been on this work for the past  three months.

Jallow further told this reporter that stakeholders have taken an important step in acknowledging and highlighting the challenges facing the juvenile justice system in The Gambia.

Noting that it is imperative that this is followed up with the requisite will and resolve, to ensure the effective and timely implementation of the recommendations put forward to remedy the challenges, Jallow added that the taskforce will be on hand to help realize this objective.