The Gambia’s State Reporting Obligations to the African Commission
The Gambia submitted its Combined Periodic Report on the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Charter) for the Period 1994 and 2018 and Initial Report under the Protocol to the African Charter on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol).
State reporting is an essential component in monitoring the implementation of the African Charter and the Maputo Protocol. Generally, State reporting serves a number of crucial functions that includes; stock- taking of the concrete steps undertaken by ratifying states towards compliance with treaty obligations; identifying problems and challenges to full implementation of treaty obligations as well as providing an opportunity for constructive engagement with the African Commission in order that States Parties may benefit from their recommendations. Article 62 of the African Charter and Article 26(1) of the Maputo Protocol outlines the obligations that ratifying states hold with respect to state reporting. Usually, state reports to the African Commission should be in two parts. Part A on the African Charter and Part B on the Maputo Protocol.
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. This year 2018; fifteen years after its adoption; only a handful of ratifying states have included a section on the Maputo Protocol in their report to the African Commission as required. Since The Gambia’s ratification of the Maputo Protocol on 25 May 2005, the country has not submitted its initial report until now.
This report therefore constitutes a consolidated report of The Gambia’s twelve (12) outstanding Periodic Reports for the periods 1994- 2018 on the measures taken by the Government of The Gambia towards the realisation of the promotion and protection of Human and Peoples’ Rights in the country.
The report has two parts namely:
· Part A: The Report on the implementation of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights
· Part B: The Report on the Protocol to the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of Women in Africa
The Process and Opportunities to Participate in the African Commission reporting process
Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) can also submit their own report to the African Commission to facilitate its preparations and strengthen its capacity to draw accountability from governments. NGOs can ensure that they are representing the voices of people who might be invisible in the report. In particular, they can crititically engage with the reporting and monitoring process by providing:
Information on impact and progress made by the state in the implementation of the African Charter and the Maputo Protocol
Violations of human rights
Inadequacies and gaps in laws and policies and their implementation
Information about obstacles to the realization of human rights
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
Maputo Protocol Virtual Platform, www.maputoprotocol.up.ac.za
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