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SICB commemorates International Human Rights Day

Dec 24, 2012, 9:44 AM | Article By: Isatou Senghore

Soroptimist International Club of Banjul (SICB) on Saturday commemorated the international human rights day, with the focus on UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the inclusion and the right to participate in public life.

Speaking at the ceremony held at the Alliance Francaise Hall, Dr Henry Carrol,  chairman of the Law Reform Commission and a senior law lecturer at the UTG, told the gathering that section 17 (2) of The Gambia’s 1997 constitution talks about freedom in the legal or jurisprudential sense in these words, “ every person in The Gambia, whatever his or her race, colour, gender, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status, shall be entitled to the fundamental human rights and freedoms of the individual contained in this chapter, but subject to the rights and freedoms of others and for the public interest”.

He explained that the UN 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights was the first international human rights instrument or Law, which all independent sovereign states, upon becoming bona fide members of the United Nations, have a legal obligation under public international Law, to sign, ratify and domesticate this chapter.

According to him, state parties, by so doing, it would become part and parcel of their domestic or national laws, so that the chapter can be legally enforced by national courts and tribunals, as part of laws of the land.

Article 10 (1) (A), (B), (C) say “state parties shall take specific positive action to promote the equal participation of women in the political life of their countries, ensuring that women do participate without any discrimination in all elections, women are represented equally at all levels with men in all electoral and candidate lists and women are partners with men at all levels of development and implementation of state policy”.

He said the very fact that The Gambia’s 1997 constitution, the national constitution of the Republic of The Gambia, guarantees rights of women in The Gambia that says it all, because the national constitution is the supreme law of the land or the “grand norm”, to use the appropriate jurisprudential parlance.

He said section 4 of the aforesaid constitution, which says the following in crystal clear terms, “this constitution is the supreme law of The Gambia and any other law found to be inconsistent with any provision of this constitution shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void”.

For her part, Ndella Faye Colley, president of the SICB, said Soroptimist International Club is a worldwide organization for women in management and professionals who serve as a global voice for women through awareness, advocacy and action.

“Their objectives are to advocate for the advancement of the status of women, to promote high ethical standards, promote human rights for all and promote equality, development and peace,” she said.

She also said the sensitization forum is one of the usual awareness-raising activities organised by the club to enhance knowledge on issues that affect girls and women and society at large.