#Editorial

On NHRC task force to tackle caste system in Gambia!

Sep 4, 2020, 2:40 PM

Following their recent recommendation to government to take urgent action to address caste system in the country, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Thursday unveiled a new task force to deal with the caste system in the country.

The birth of this task force could not have come at a better time than now, when simmering tensions that have flared among fellow Sarahuleh tribes in the Upper River Region (URR). If no immediate interventions are taken, the issue could get out of hands.

Earlier on, we talked about it and we want to reiterate it here again, what is unfolding in Garawol and other Serehuleh communities in URR and other parts of The Gambia cannot be left to continue.

The team in the coming days is expected to bring together representatives from key government ministries and the Supreme Islamic Council who have the legal and policy authority, and the moral duty to ensure individuals do not violate each other’s rights as well as contribute to the creation of a protecting, enabling and non-discriminatory environment for all in The Gambia.

The task force’s duties among other things include identifying the key factors precipitating the caste conflicts and the flash points in the country for caste conflicts; examine the recommendations of reports submitted by the NHRC to the National Assembly Standing Committee on Human Rights (dated 8 January 2020).

According to the chair of the National Human Rights Commission, they’ve observed that if these tensions that have been brewing in these areas are not settled, then people are sitting on a powder keg.

In this modern Gambia, there is no room for tribalism or discrimination based on tribe or gender as we rise or fall together as “One Gambia, One People and One Nation”.

As a decent nation, we cannot look back when our brothers and sisters are in conflicts. We should look beyond caste system and harness our potentials to improve our economy amid recent spike in Covid-19 cases.

Caste system will not take us anywhere as a country. It would only to ignite hatred, division and flare conflicts while The Gambia lags behind in community of nations.

"The principle of self-government cannot be violated with impunity. The individual's right to it is sacred - regardless of class, caste, race, color, sex or any other accident or incident of birth."

Susan B. Anthony

Let’s remind ourselves that discrimination of any type or nature, including one based on caste, has no place in a civilized society and certainly not in The Gambia where the 1997 Constitution accords every citizen and resident equal rights and protection and a free and dignified life.

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