Africa Should Double Up Human Rights

By Abdoulie John

The Gambia’s Vice-President wants African governments to diuble up in making sure that human rights and principles enshrined in the African Charter for Human and Peoples’ Rights are fully realised throughout the continent.

VP Darboe made this remark in a keynote address he delivered Wednesday at the opening of the 63rd ordinary session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR), which is being held at Labranda Coral Beach Hotel, located in Brufut, about 15 km away from Banjul.

Scheduled to run from October 24 to November 13, the ACHPR session brought together more than 200 NGOs, States delegates, international organizations for a two-week confab that is expected to address the human rights situation in a continent still battling to clear major hurdles.

“It is a battle that we, as Africans, must win,” said the country’s second-in-command.

The tiny West African is emerging from the shadows of dictatorship. The new regime has vowed to right the wrongs of the past in promoting democracy and rule of law.

Darboe deplored that several countries have not completed the ratification process. But he was quick to highlight the ‘great strides’ Gambia has been making since the advent of President Adama Barrow to power.

He seized the opportunity to emphasize the move taken by government to ratify the Convention against enforced disappearances as well as the decision by President Barrow to suspend the death penalty, describing it as “first step towards its abolition,” provoking a wave of applause.

VP Darboe also indicated that Gambia has ratified the African Charter on elections and governance and Protocol on the African Court of Justice, saying that individuals and NGOs can now have access to the court.

While making it very clear that freedom of the press has become a reality in New Gambia, Darboe said that detention without trial is no longer an option.

For her part, ACHPR Chairperson, Soyata Maiga decried the deterioration of human rights situation in Northern Cameroon, Central Africa Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Egypt.

She called on member states to move towards ensuring that democracy and rule of law prevail as the promotion and protection of human rights are of utmost importance.

She lauded the commitment of participants to taking part in the session of the Commission.


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