By Abdoulie John

Gambia’s Vice-President, Dr. Isatou Touray, has Monday reiterated government commitment to upholding the principles of good governance as major policy objectives.

“We stand firm in our conviction that without good governance, there can be no durable peace or economic development,” said Dr. Touray at the opening ceremony of 65th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACPHR), which is being held at Kairaba Beach Hotel in Kololi.

The ACHPR is headquartered in Banjul and its ordinary sessions have always been punctuated by highlights of the human rights situation on the continent. Since the advent of the new democratic dispensation, the winds of freedom have been across the length and breadth of the country.

To us in The Gambia, she went on, good governance brings peace, and this is therefore the fundamental pillar upon which all other successes are built on.

VP Touray further stated that it provides a conducive environment that will allow authorities to put in place policies, programs and strategies that guarantee human rights and justice.

She then seized the opportunity to put the spotlight on the achievements made by the Barrow government ‘within a very short period of time.’

“There has been a mass improvement in restoring the rights of the people in The Gambia,” she said.

The ACHPR Chairperson, Soyata Maiga, okayed the transition process that has put the tiny West African on the path to democracy.

She commended Gambia gov’t for facilitating the participation of a good number of human rights defenders coming from various corners of the globe.

Conveying the message of the NGOs community, the Executive Director of the Kololi-based African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies (ACDHRS), Hannah Forster, disclosed that 8 country-resolutions were adopted as well as 4 thematic resolution and 3 recommendations.

In reviewing the human rights conditions on the continent, she said the NGOs Forum took note on the ongoing challenges Africans are confronted with when it comes to enjoying human rights.

More than 200 none-governmental organisations coming from 36 countries, held 10 plenary panels and 13 special-interest groups, covering the state of human rights on the African continent.

ACDRS boss explained that in many African countries, human rights violations of freedom of assembly and association remain a major cause for concern, citing Algeria, Burundi, Cameroon, Egypt, Republic of Guinea, Kenya, Lesotho, Mauritania, South Africa, Togo and Zimbabwe.

She also deplored that there are some states that have never submitted a report since the ratification of the African Charter in 1980.

“We call on the Commission to encourage the submission of states report,” she voiced out.

The Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Aboubacarr Tambadou, EU Special Representative for Human Rights, Eaman Gilmore, and a good number of international figures attended the colourful opening ceremony.

Ends

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