By Binta Jaiteh
Mansour Jobe, Director of Legal and Investigation at the National Human Right Commission has urged the government and the National Assembly members to enact the torture bill.
“Giving consideration to the optional protocol to the torture convention, which has not yet been ratified by the state, and by enacting the bill, it will ensure the provision of torture convention is actualized,” he told National Assembly select committee on human rights and constitutional matters in Banjul at the Parliament.
He also told the lawmakers that under the laws, it has not been criminalized by the conventions which are the challenges that the state is struggling with in terms of prosecuting individuals that have been accused of torture during the Truth Reconciliation and Reparation Commission.
He noted that: “if the county doesn’t have domestic laws that can penalize it, it will be difficult to prosecute individuals.”
Jobe disclosed that the government has ratified the convention on enforced disappearance which is significant that the convention also plays an obligation on the state to expressly criminalize enforced disappearance, adding that with the understanding that it was included in the crime bill that is before the assembly where enforced disappearance is criminalized as an offense.
In regards to the optional protocol for international covenant civil, economic, social, and cultural rights, he outlined that it was also significant for the state to ratify the convention that will enable individuals that are aggrieved by the state to hold them accountable.
He added that with regards to the rights of older persons, that in the Gambia people are getting old and there is no law that will protect them but acknowledged that the draft constitution has done very well in recognizing their rights.
However, he said there is an African protocol regarding that protocol, but the Gambia has not signed nor ratified the protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, and All the Rights of Older Peoples in Africa.