By Nelson Manneh
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), on Thursday August 4th 2022, validated the Universal Periodic Review or Midterm Assessment Report.
The Commission stated that the Gambia’s human rights report was reviewed under the Universal Periodic Review process at the 34th session of the Universal Periodic Review working group, held on the 5th November 2019 in Geneva, and that the Gambia accepted 207 recommendations and noted 15 recommendations, during the interactive dialogue.
Yakarr Cox, a representative from the ministry of justice, said they recognized the NHRC’s initiative to monitor and report on the implementation process of the 207 recommendations that were accepted by The Gambia during their last Universal Periodic Review held at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva in November 2019.
“The Justice Ministry is cognizant of the Commission’s dedication to promote and protect human rights in The Gambia and the efforts it has made in not only ensuring that the Gambia Government implements the accepted recommendations, but also the citizenry is made aware of the said 2019 UPR recommendations through popularization activities across the various regions of the country,” she said. She said the ministry found the report concise and informative depicting Government’s progress as well as its challenges in the implementation process.
“Our ministry has taken note of the justice, rule of law, and legal reform issues highlighted in the draft report, particularly on outstanding ratifications of some treaties and state reports,” she said; that the ministry of justice assured the commission that a fully functional Human Rights Unit is in the offing at the ministry and in due course, they will improve their score cards.
She said the justice ministry remains committed to improving the country’s legal and institutional framework to align it with international human rights standards.
“We are aware of the Commission’s budgetary constraints which, understandably, pose some challenges to the implementation of your mandate. The budget constraints are not the desire of the Government, and the ministry of justice will continue to advocate for the Commission in Government and support them in other resource mobilization endeavors whenever needed,” She noted.
For his part, Commissioner Emmanuel Joof, the Chairperson of NHRC, said during their interactive dialogue in Geneva, 222 recommendations were presented and the Gambia Government accepted 207 recommendations and noted 15. He said following their engagement in Geneva, the NHRC established an ad-hoc committee composed of various Government ministries, NGOs and CSOs to monitor and report on the progress of implementation of the recommendations.
“With support from the Swiss Embassy in Dakar, the committee embarked on popularization activities by way of radio talk-shows across the country and developed the universal periodic review midterm assessment report to assist the country’s progress in the implementation of the recommendations,” he said.