#National News

UTG Student claims violation of right to education

May 18, 2021, 1:34 PM

A student at the University of The Gambia has lodged a complaint at the National Human Rights Commission after he accused his lecturer of violating his right.

Mustapha Ceesay, filed a complaint against Dr Charles Mendy that the lecturer violated his fundamental right to ‘freedom of conscience, association and that he relied on international treaties which The Gambia is a signatory and the 1997 Constitution of The Gambia that guarantee his fundamental human right.

The incident, according to him, happened on 14th May 2021 between 08:00 and10:30.

The University on 11th May 2021 informed the management including the students of the university about the UTG Eid Holidays notice on 12th to 17th of May 2021.The notice states; ‘At the instance of the Vice Chancellor, we are pleased to inform you that the University will go on a break, with effect from Wednesday, the 12th of May 2021. This is in observance of the Muslim feast of Eidul-Fitr (Koriteh).

The University will resume normal operations on Monday, the 17th of May 2021. The Management wishes you a blessed celebration.’

The above referred to as-UTG Eid Holidays notice simply translates that the institute will go on a break from 12th to 17th May 2021 in observance of the Muslim feast of Eidul-Fitr (Koriteh).

During this period, it will conduct no operations until the 17th of May 2021. This means that operations of the university including teaching and learning should not hold between the specified periods.

Mustapha said the notice has been widely shared on the UTGSU WhatsApp page where he knew that there would be no lectures from 12th to 16th May 2021, likewise many.

Contrary to the notice, he said, Dr. Charles Mendy, lecturer for the French 102 course on 14th May 2021 willfully held French 102 lecture online without his notice from 8:00-10:30am knowing-fully well that the University informed its staff and students that there will be Eid break until 17th May and less than a quarter of the registered students were present.

Thereon, he said, Mendy held the lecture to the end without regard for the UTG notice and the Eid celebrations, where he like many of his colleagues were absent, as UTG granted them the holiday permission.

Evidence on the platform also revealed that during the lecture, he had slated 21st May for a test and gave guidelines to those present and further held another lecture in the afternoon to the disadvantage of many more.

He therefore relied on international treaties which The Gambia is signatory and the 1997 Constitution of The Gambia that guarantees his fundamental human right. The action of Mendy, he said, has violated his right to liberty and freedom guaranteed under articles 8 and 10 (1) of the African Charter on Human and People’s Right.

“Article 8, states that freedom of conscience, the profession and free practice of religion shall be guaranteed. No one may, subject to law and order, be submitted to measures restricting the exercise of these freedoms; and article 10 (1) states that every individual shall have the right to free association provided that he abides by the law.”

He concluded that, it is his view that Mendy willfully violated his right to practice his religion of Islam and to manifest such practice as guaranteed under Section 25, subsection c of the 1997 Constitution and articles 8 and 10 (1) of the African Charter on Human and People’s Right by holding a lecture in a period [12th-17th May 2021] designated for the observance of the Eid celebrations as contained in the UTG notice; contrary to the referred clause of the 1997 Constitution of the Republic of The Gambia.

To that effect, and per the 1997 Constitution clause which encourages an aggrieved party to seek redress and Article 7, 1, of the African Charter on Human and People’s Right which states that every individual shall have the right to have his cause heard, including the right to an appeal to competent national organs against acts of violating his/her fundamental rights as recognised and guaranteed by conventions, laws, regulations and customs in force.

Mustapha Ceesay said he filed a formal complaint before the National Human Rights Commission as a national organ under whose purview addressing such subject falls.

Mustapha Ceesay said he now seeks for redress from the commission created by an Act of Parliament to: Instruct Dr. Charles Mendy to postpone the French 102 test slated for Friday 21st May to Friday 28th May 2021 because he, Mustapha missed the lecture before, during which vital information such as test guideline and other issues relevant were discussed, and for Dr. Charles Mendy to repeat the said lecture delivered on Friday 14th May to Friday 21st May to give him the opportunity to benefit from whatever was discussed. Also, with Instruction Dr. Charles Mendy to grant him a public apology for wilfully violating the said constitutionally given right of him and Instruct the lecturer to apologise for giving false information that the break announced by the UTG is for the management only.

Disclaimer: This complaint is NOT Islam vs. Christianity but Mustapha Ceesay vs. Dr. Charles Mendy in the context of rights violation as per the 1997 Constitution and The African Charter On Human and People’s Rights.

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