NHRC receives 77 individual complaints in 20220

Feb 26, 2021, 10:57 AM | Article By: Sankulleh Gibril Janko

The National Human Rights Commission of the Gambia (NHRC) says it received 77 individual complaints in 2020.

Although the commissioners of the commission were sworn-in in February 2019, the commission began full time operation a few months later.

The 2020 calendar year is the first year the commission carried out a complete 12-month operation despite the difficulties of Covid-19.

Speaking to the journalists in a press conference held at its headquarters in Kololi on Thursday, while taking a rundown of the commission’s work done in 2020, the chairman of the National Human Rights Commission Emmanuel Joof, said the commission received over 70 individual complaints.

“We have been able to through the individual complaint system; we have received 77 individual complaints all in all,” he said.

He added: “Unfortunately a lot of the complaints were inadmissible but I'll also explain the reason why they were inadmissible.

“A big number of those complaints were also referred to other institutions that were probably perhaps specialised to deal with those complaints; for example the office of the Ombudsman, the Labour Department.”

Out of the 77 individual complaints the commission received, 16 were admissible, 45 were inadmissible and 16 are pending, according to the HRC chair.

Human rights lawyer Joof said a number of people perceived the HRC as a legal aid body, adding that it does not fall within their mandate.

He said the commission is also not a court; therefore it only can only monitor cases before the courts and advise for appeals but not to deal with the cases.

This according to him, led to the commission receiving some of the complaints as inadmissible because they do not fall under their ambit.

He also highlighted the successes registered by the commission among them the mediation between the government and GPU, which led to the opening of two radio stations and release of journalists.

The commission led findings surrounding the stranded Gambians in Lebanon who were later repatriated home with the help of a Gambia-Swedish based NGO.

The commission’s biggest achievement for the year according to Chairman Joof was to have the secretariat fully operational.

Despite the tremendous successes the commission has registered since it was established, NHRC is facing numerous challenges particularly financial challenges.

The commission aims to establish offices in other parts of the country to give chance to every Gambian’s voice pertaining to human rights to be heard.