#National News

Activist urges CSOs to register with platform

Jan 7, 2021, 1:32 PM | Article By: Momodou Jawo

Chairperson of the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) Dialogue Platform on Human Rights, The Gambia has called on all civil society organisations in the country that are yet to register with the platform to do so soonest.

Nfamara Jawneh, who also doubles as the Country Representative of Youth for Human Rights International in The Gambia and Director of Beakanyang was speaking in an exclusive interview with The Point at his office in Serrekunda recently.

“Currently, we have over 60 CSOs including NGOs and CBOs under the Dialogue Platform working on various human rights issues,” he disclosed.

He, however, lamented that there are many CSOs who are not members of the Dialogue Platform and such groups might not be recognised by the platform until they join them.

“We need to join the platform in order to strengthen it rather than working in isolation,” he urged. 

According to him, the CSO Dialogue Platform was created in 2019 by the National Human Rights Commission, NHRC and inaugurated in January 2020 at TANGO.

“The NHRC spearheaded the establishment of the Dialogue Platform to facilitate a well-coordinated working relationship with human rights CSOs.” He noted.

“This Dialogue Platform is expected to provide the opportunity for Civil Society in The Gambia to come together, discuss and strategise on how they can collectively work together to promote the respect and realisation of human rights in The Gambia. Every actor has a role to play in ensuring human rights are realised, whether it is the State, a Civil Society Organization or the people themselves. All actors are of the utmost importance in order to support, to promote action, to monitor and provide the grass roots with information ensuring that people’s rights are realised and are not violated,” Jawneh remarked.

The Civil Society Dialogue Platform, he added, seeks to contribute to the implementation and monitoring of the national legislation and international and regional human rights legal instruments The Gambia is party to and to foster closer collaboration between CSOs in The Gambia and National Human Rights in the promotion and protection of human rights in Africa.

According to him, the main objectives of the Dialogue Platform include: to contribute to proper implementation and monitoring of the State’s human rights commitments as well as strengthening of human rights mechanisms in the country; foster closer collaboration and co-operation among Civil Society Organisations (CSOs); between CSOs and the NHRC, and with other stakeholders for the promotion, protection and fulfillment of human rights in The Gambia; and to ensure Civil Society suggests inputs into the work, programmes and activities of the NHRC.

“The Dialogue Platform intends to achieve these through: providing a platform where CSO can effectively engage with the NHRC; facilitate partnership and networking; serve as a springboard for advocacy around human rights and wellbeing in The Gambia and enhance the visibility of the NHRC in all regions and communities of The Gambia. Each member should take personal and organisational responsibility for the effective and efficient working of the Dialogue Platform, and should contribute fully and effectively to its success.” He added.

State agencies, Rule of Law organs, other duty bearers and stakeholders may seek information from the Dialogue Platform on human rights issues in The Gambia or about its work.

He further stressed that the membership of the Dialogue Platform is open to all Civil Society Organisations working in the area of human rights promotion, protection, monitoring or advocacy in The Gambia.

“For effective working, the Dialogue Platform has also established thematic groups on key human rights themes which include, but not limited to the Thematic Groups on Children, Women, Persons With Disabilities, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Persons with HIV/AIDS, Migrants, Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons as well as Civil and Political Rights.

Jawneh further disclosed that the NHRC would serve as the Secretariat to the Dialogue Platform.

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