Gambia’s President, Adama Barrow has promised his government will not disappoint the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. President Barrow was speaking during the Commission’s 30th Anniversary held at Kairaba Beach Hotel, Kololi, Gambia.
“We will not disappoint you,” President Adama Barrow said.
“The dark days of The Gambia are over,” he added.
President Barrow in his opening statements to hundreds of participants from all over the African Continent reassured his government will remain committed to human and peoples’ rights.
The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights was established 30 years ago with its headquarters in Banjul.
President Barrow said the Gambian people have recognizsed the support of the Commission despite the unsupported attitude of the former government. He mentioned the international treaties that his government recently signed at the UN General Meeting, key among them was the abolition of the death penalty noting that plans are underway to enact the convention on torture among other things. He also spoke about his Government’s plans to legislate the Human Rights Commission in the country. He added that the signing of laws alone is not enough, what is important he said is to see that they are enforced.
“We will very soon pass the Human Rights Commission Bill for the first time in the history of our country,” he asserted.
The Gambian leader spoke about a wide range of issues including plans to empower and work with Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs).
Pansy Tlakula, the outgoing chairperson of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights commended the new government of The Gambia.
“This is the first time in my 12 years work that the Gambia is represented in the highest level,” Chairperson Pansy Tlakula said.
“We have never met the former President Yahya Jammeh,” she added.
She said the decision to establish the commission was made in 1987 and Banjul was chosen to be the headquarters. She commended the role played by the Gambia’s first President Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara.
Madame Tlakula in her farewell statements highlighted the human rights tracks of the continent including freedom of expression and freedom association among others.
“During my tenure the human rights landscape has change,” she asserted.
The outgoing chairperson spoke about the gains and challenges of the commission. She spoke about the challenges of terrorism, youth unemployment, climate change and continuous harassment and arbitrary detention of African people among others.
“We are all responsible for the promotion and protection of human rights in Africa,” she said.
The EU Human Rights Commissioner said there is no country that has perfect human rights but the difference is the readiness to address the problems saying the institutions should be strengthen to review them. He commended the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, adding that they are working closely with the commission.
“Human Rights is not about luxury but putting in place strong policies,” he noted.
He said he is inspired by 30 years of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
Meanwhile, 4 new African Commissioners were sworn-in to take office.