#National News

NHRC trains GAF personnel on Int’l human rights, GBV

Jul 10, 2024, 10:46 AM | Article By: Isatou Ceesay Bah

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in collaboration with the Ministry of Justice and the Office of the National Security Adviser recently convened a three-day capacity building on International Human Rights Law, International Humanitarian Law, and handling of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) cases.

The training, held at Metzy Residence Hotel, seeks to address significant gaps in the current curriculum of the country's security services. It is believed that the absence of dedicated modules on gender-based violence and human rights in the existing training programs has contributed to systemic human rights violations and abuses.

At the event, Emmanuel Daniel Joof, chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, outlined the significant findings and recommendations of the Truth, Reconciliation, and Reparations Commission (TRRC), which highlighted serious gaps in knowledge, norms, and values within the security sector, particularly the Gambia Armed Forces (GAF). 

Joof reminded that the government has acknowledged the need to create an environment that addresses gender-based violence within the GAF and enhance the sector's knowledge to prevent future human rights violations.

The importance of the training on international human rights law, he said, aims to prevent the recurrence of widespread and systematic acts of sexual and gender-based violence.

“This comprehensive training program covers a wide range of topics, including human rights, international humanitarian law, gender concepts, cultural awareness, gender sensitivity, and the commitment to upholding human rights and justice.”

 He emphasised that anyone can be a victim of human rights violations and stressed on the collective responsibility to uphold and promote human rights within the country.

Mulie Colley, from the Ministry of Defense, pointed out that NHRC has been a crucial partner in this process.

“Today’s training will further enhance the knowledge of our security system. The TRRC highlighted significant gaps, and that their partnership with the Human Rights Commission began when they initiated security sector reforms in 2017. The training, he noted will mark a significant first step in addressing these issues.”

Colley praised the NHRC for their excellent work saying that without respect for human rights and the rule of law, peace and security in the country cannot be fully realised.

He emphasised that well-trained armed forces is essential in the development of any nation, saying it is crucial in ensuring the enjoyment of fundamental human rights.

Alieu Jallow, a representative of the Solicitor General, pointed out the need for instilling a culture of human rights, the rule of law, and democratic values within The Gambia.

To achieve that, he added, it is essential to enhance knowledge and incorporate gender perspectives within the Gambia Armed Forces.

“This approach aims to foster trust, improve relationships and public perception of the security forces, strengthen security-civil cooperation, and prevent the recurrence of gross human rights violations, including gender-based violence, enforced disappearances, and extrajudicial killings.”

Jallow further acknowledged that the TRRC recommended, and the Government accepted, pointing out that regular training on human rights for security sector officials is crucial.

“In collaboration with the NHRC, it is necessary to review, integrate, and update human rights education in the GAF curriculum.”