The Gambia: Rising from the Ashes of Tyranny under the theme Freedom of Liberty; Past and Present
The Gambia has experienced numerous human rights abuses and violations under the former regime specifically relating to the unconstitutional deprivation of the fundamental ‘Right to Liberty’.
As part of its resolution to improve the country’s constitutional, legal and institutional framework together with its strategies, policies and programs in various areas of governance, the new Government of The Gambia took up the initiative to align the entire governance architecture with international justice and human rights standards.
This ‘Good Human Rights Story’ is told in the perspective of victims, human rights activists, journalist and established institutions.
Hon. Fatoumatta Jawara: Hon. Fatoumatta Jawara, now a Member of the National Assembly and a victim of the former regime, recalled the violations perpetrated against her when she was arrested for leading a political protest in 2016.
Mr. Sainey Marenah: A journalist who has witnessed and reported on numerous cases of human rights violations during the former regime testified to the verse improvements in the area of human rights record of the new government resumed office
Police Public Relations Officer: Assistant Superintendent of Police, Mr Lamin Njie explains that the human rights violations of the past was as a result of the interference of the former government in the police force which has drastically or even stopped resulting to the police being able to execute their duties in an independent manner and according to law.
Director General, State Intelligence Services (former National Intelligence Agency: Mr Ousman Sowe informs that the NIA powers of arrest and or detention has been suspended and since 2017, no arrest or detentions have been executed. That the former dreaded institution now adopts human rights based approach in the implementation of their activities.
Tobaski Nije Sarr, Civil Society Advocate: Mrs Sarr reiterated that arbitrary arrest, unlawful detention and torture were the order of the day in the former regime. However, she further notes that this practice is gradually becoming a thing of the past as the new regime is mindful of its human rights obligations.
Hon. Attorney General: In his statement, the Hon. Attorney General buttressed the new government’s commitment to human rights, especially as it relates to the right to liberty and the mechanisms set in place for the promotion and protection of these rights.
Imam Baba Leigh: Imam Baba Leigh, a victim of the former regime, expressed his delight that in the new Gambia, there is an enabling environment of safety and security without the fear of being arbitrarily arrested and detained.
Considering the positive impact the restoration of this right is having on the citizenry, it is without doubt that it is a great achievement on the part of the new Gambia as it showcases its readiness to strive for adherence to the rule of law.