By Binta Jaiteh
The Gambia Bar Association (GBA) and Centre for Legal Support (CLS) yesterday engaged the young lawyers in a day-long consultation on enhancing access to Justice, Rule of Law, and Human Rights.
This came through as the Gambia is one of the countries connected to human rights.
Speaking at the opening of the forum held at Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara Conference Centre, Sourahata B. Semega Janneh, Doyen of the Gambian Bar recalled that the first republic led by former President, Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara did well in the effort to establish the African Commission on Human and People’s rights that its charter was dubbed the Banjul Charter with its headquarters still existing in The Gambia despite the awful hiatus of engendered by the defunct dictatorship.
He stated that in the absence of a fresh republican Constitution or at least a heavily amended substitute, they must have felt uncomfortable about the human rights defects ensured by that situation. That on the rule of law which regrettably is sometimes interchanged in some quarters with Law and Order. He said now the nation is now doing better than many countries.
He further informed the young lawyers that in the jurisdiction, all judges of the Superior Courts have to start as Legal practitioners either at the private or public bar or as Magistrates.
On his part, Salieu Taal, the President of the Bar Association commended partnering with the CLS, a dynamic young civil society organization that is doing a fantastic job in access to justice and the topic chosen by the young lawyers was enhancing access to justice.
He stated that the catalytic role played by the bar association in 2016 and the footstep is the beginning and the end of 22 years of dictatorship. In post-2016 and 2017, the legal fraternity has played and will continue to play a lead role in establishing rule of law.
Aissata De, the UNDP country representative said the two years of public hearings by the Truth and Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) as well as the Commission’s final report has highlighted several legislative technical, and infrastructural gaps in The Gambia’s rule of law, justice and security sector.
She said the government in May this year accepted to implement over 99% of the recommendations made by the TRRC and is currently busy developing the post-TRRC implementation plan.
And the judiciary too, 2021 finalized a detailed 2021 -2025 Strategic Plan and held a vibrant conference with donors and partners on challenging MDAs opportunities for investment in the Judiciary.
However, she said access to justice right guaranteed by International instruments and the laws of The Gambia this is because the ability to access justice is of critical importance in the enjoyment of all other human rights.