By: Almamao Kamaso
The Gambia government has not submitted its human rights reports for 22 years and 12 periodic reports are still outstanding, parliamentarians were told yesterday.
This revelation was made at the just-concluded human rights training for the National Assembly Members held from March 7 to 8th at the parliament building in Banjul.
African Commission for Human and Peoples Rights (ACHPR) and ACER require state parties to submit initial periodic reports; but the government of the Gambia since 1994 did not submit a single report as required. The representative of the Office of High Commission for Human Rights told the law makers that state periodic reporting is an essential vehicle for a meaningful dialogue between state parties and the mechanism on the basis of information provided by states and other stakeholders. The members of the ACHRP said the mechanism also engages concerned states on how to improve the realization of human rights.
The meeting further raised concerns over government intentions that are never brought to fruitions. A good example advanced was the fact that President Adama Barrow had signed an agreement in one of his meetings at the UN in the early days of his presidency to abolish death penalty but it is yet to be brought to the National Assembly for further considerations. However, members and other stakeholders indicated that human right obligations is on all organs of governments and if the executive arm of the government failed to bring such to the National Assembly for considerations what is stopping the National Assembly to put the executive on their feet.
Meanwhile, during the meeting it was discovered that the Gambia was said not to have ratified the convention against torture; however it was reported in 2006 by the Point Newspaper that it was but for some reasons the document was nowhere to be found.
The director of Institute Human for Right Development (IHRDA) Mr. Gaye Sowe told participants that for 10 years he and his institute were trying to verify the ratifications but to no avail. However the Speaker of the National Assembly, Mariam Jack Denton was able within three hours to confirm that the convention was indeed ratified by the National Assembly on June 12 2006, after digging into the files of the National Assembly.