By Momodou Darboe
National Human Rights Commission’s Investigating Officer, Aminata L.B Ceesay, has stressed that NHRC felt it necessary to ‘break Gorgi Mboob’s wings’ to send a signal that torture in The Gambia would not be tolerated under any circumstance. Mr Mboob was the head of the anti- crime unit of the police who was recently accused of torturing a detainee.
Ms. Ceesay said the commission’s recommendation for the re-deployment of Mboob to a relatively lower capacity was testament to how seriously it takes issues of torture.
According to NHRC Investigating Officer, the commission’s recent recommendation for the transfer of the commander of the most-vilified anti-crime unit was to not only show its zero-tolerance policy towards torture but to also incapacitate him.
Ms. Ceesay was speaking on Sunday in Tanji as NHRC gathered a cross-section of the community to raise awareness on the commission’s operations.
The outreach program is part of NHRC’s initiatives to bolster greater grassroots understanding of its mandate and recognition of human rights and the accompanying responsibilities.
NHRC officials were earlier last week in Banjulinding and Busumbala before reaching out to Tanji at the weekend where they held fruitful conversations with representatives from the community on issues relating to the promotion and deeper awareness of human rights issues and NHRC’s existence.
Recognizing the fact that safe-guarding human rights would continue to face challenges without enhanced awareness of rights, the commission went down the communities to not only enlighten them but also prepare the ground for their active participation in the nurturing of rights.
NHRC Investigating Officer Aminata L.B Ceesay told a town meeting in Tanji that national human rights commission is unprecedented in Gambia’s history and that it came into existence three years ago to redress violations of rights under its mandate.
She took her audience through the commission’s composition, detailing how citizens and non-citizens can avail themselves of the opportunity that the commission provides for the protection of their rights.
The Program Manager NCCE, Yusupha Bojang, informed the Tanji meeting of the various interventions NHRC has made since its inception, including the steps taken in the emotive caste tensions in Upper River Region of the country.
“We should work closely with the commission in view of its mandate. We have seen the excesses against Gambians. These are the violations and others NHRC is here to redress. NHRC is here for you and the services are cost-free. The commission is a referral place for rights abuses. So, avail yourselves of the opportunity to enjoy your political, economic and social rights by first recognizing them with sense of responsibility,” Bojang advised.
NHRC Legal Officer Fatou Gaye lectured her audience on the commission’s complaints handling and admissibility criteria.
The Tanji meeting, moderated by NHRC Media Relations Officer Lamin Fatty, has meanwhile served as an extremely vital platform for the enlightenment of the participants on the mandate of NHRC as well as their rights as humans and the concomitant responsibilities.