By Kebba Jeffang
The Chairperson of African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) on Thursday, February 23, led a delegation of several Commissioners to pay a courtesy call on President Adama Barrow he at Kairba Beach Hotel.
The delegation includes Commissioners of Prisons and torture in Africa.
Speaking at the event, Madam Pansy Tlakula, Chairperson of Human and Peoples’ Right (ACHPR) as well as Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to information in Africa said their mission is to pay respect to the President and his colleagues after winning the election.
She said Banjul has been their home for the past 30 years as it is the headquarters for African Charter is called the Banjul Charter and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. She informed that in November this year they will be holding a session where they will be celebrating the 30th anniversary of ACHPR which has been stationed here 30 years. “We are here to congratulate you and wish you well as you build a new country to pledge our support on all that you have set yourself to achieve.”
“This is historic to us because for 12 years of our terms we never met a President of this country. We met the vice president I think on two occasions but we tried our best to meet the former President but we were not successful that is why we are so excited to be here today to meet you and your cabinet,” she said.
However, she added that “I have to indicate that in the last government we enjoyed support as we were able to come here and do our job, we were able to express our opinion on the human rights situation on this country, and the government allowed us to do our work I have to say that not once after we have raised our concerns which are quite sharply on the situation off human rights on this country. But we were able continue our work and held our sessions opening every time by senior ministers and I am hoping that we will continue with that provision.”
Meanwhile, Mr. Adama Barrow, President of the Gambia said the Gambia have changed on the 1st December, 2016 that brought in a new slogan called new Gambia and that the Gambia is back. He said election was contested on principle of democracy and he pledged that such principle continues.
“We will respect the dictates of the Constitution and rule of law and whatever is to happen in this country will be done in due process. We believe we cannot develop as a country if we are not within this framework because it always creates a secure environment for everybody,” said Barrow.
The President said although it may take a lot of time but they are working on a lot of reforms in all sectors including prisons reform. “We even want to build new prisons to meet international standard because we want human rights groups to visit The Gambia without any appointment. They can walk into prisons by themselves for inspection. People in the prisons should be reformed for them to be useful in the society. This is the way we are thinking and that is what we believe in.”
He said the media is free in the Gambia now. We want the media to be free because they give information which people learn from.