Synopsis of the Statement by the Gambian Delegate, Aji Adam Ceesay, Ministry of Justice at the 62nd Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. 25 April-9 May 2018, Nouakchott, Mauritania
The Gambia’s state report focused on measures taken to integrate the country into the human rights family. Major strides include the following:
- Promulgation of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). Appointment of commissioners and institutional arrangements are underway.
- In their determination to rebuild the nation and lay the foundation for good governance and human rights, Truth, Reparations and Reconciliation Act (TRRC) was enacted.
- The Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) Act was also enacted for the establishment of a Commission for the drafting and guiding of the process of promulgating a new Constitution
- Media laws: Ministry has established national committee to review laws. Enhancement of speech and media including issuance of TV licenses.
- In terms of political and civil rights, elections that were considered free and fair took place including, National Assembly and local government.
- Concrete measures are also undertaken to address prison conditions.
Plans by Government
- Formalization of the national procedures for accession to the Convention Against Torture (CAT) and subsequent domestication.
- Commencement of the process of ratifying the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Older Persons.
- Finalization of the Draft Disability Bill as domesticated legislation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
Feedback of Chairperson of the African Commission, Hon Commissioner, Soyata Maiga
She expressed delight with the progress that has been made in the normative planes and the establishment of governance institutions. She recalled how for long time, they were reporting excessive human rights violations happening in The Gambia and thus, seen as people that were manipulated by the NGOs. She reiterated that The Gambia can count on the support of Commission, and international community.
Law Hub Gambia’s Take: The Gambia SHOULD fulful its state reporting obligations
One of the most effective means by which the African Commission can ensure the promotion and protection of human and peoples’ rights is through the state reporting procedure.
However, The Gambia’s record of fulfilling its state obligation of submitting reports is extremely poor. At the African regional level, The Gambia submitted its initial report (1986-1992) on the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Charter) in 1992. In accordance with article 62 of the African Charter, states parties are required to submit periodic report every two years. The Gambia’s first periodic report was submitted in 1994 for duration (1992-1994) and no more have been submitted.
Since its ratification of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Charter (African Children’s Charter) on 14 December 2000 and the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol) on 25 May 2005, The Gambia has never submitted any initial or periodic reports to both instruments.
During its statement, The Gambia committed to submitting its state reports after two decades in the next session, we look forward to the inclusion of civil society in the preparation of the report and subsequent submission.
S Nabaneh ‘The impact of the African Charter and the Maputo Protocol in The Gambia’ in VO Ayeni (ed) The impact of the African Charter and the Maputo Protocol in selected African states (2016) 75-93. Available at : http://www.pulp.up.ac.za/component/edocman/the-impact-of-the-african-charter-and-the-maputo-protocol-in-selected-african-states
Report of The Gambia in accordance with Article 62 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, http://www.achpr.org/files/sessions/12th/state-reports/1st-1986-1992/staterep1_gambia_1992_eng.pdf
Periodic of report, ACHPR/PR/GAM/XVI http://www.achpr.org/files/sessions/16th/state-reports/1st-1992-1994/staterep1_gambia_1994_eng.pdf (accessed 15 February 2018).