By Abdoulie John
As The Gambia joined Thursday the international community to commemorate Human Rights Day, the Executive Director of the African Centre on Democracy and Human Rights Studies (ACDHRS) lauded the youths for their leadership role in fighting against all forms of abuses.
“The youths are taken their rightful role to end human rights violations. A Few years ago, the African Union (AU) dedicated the year to the youths, harnessing the power of the youths and to make sure that they contribute their quota to the development of their countries,” she said in a statement delivered on the occasion of a forum marking International Human Rights Day, which was held at Paradise Suite Hotel in Kololi.
The event brought together leading figures of the country’s civil society movement, activists and journalists. Held at a time the country is facing major hurdles, the commemoration provided an opportunity for participants to reflect on this year’s theme centred on “Youths Standing Up for Human Rights.”
She challenged authorities to revisit mitigation strategies on gross human rights violations, and to foster cooperation with Civil Society Organizations with a view to attaining equitable justice for all.
ACDHRS boss deplored that over 80% of the world still live under authoritarian societies.
“If countries are living in or operating in a closed society where people are oppressed, it will be difficult for Civil Society organisations to do their work effectively,” she asserted.
Civil society activist who also doubles as Webminster Foundation country representative, Madi Jobarteh said civic space has been shrinking for the past years, due to repressive colonial laws. He then added that civic society groups have a pivotal role to play in strengthening democracy and civil liberties.
“Civic space enables us to gather and assemble, and to express our views so that we hold government accountable,” he noted.