By Yankuba Jallow
The Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA), yesterday, reviewed and validated a collection of Gambia domestic laws and court judgments relevant to Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV). The validation workshop was held at a hotel in Kololi.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Ismene Nicole Zarifis, Director of Programs, IHRDA, underscored the importance of the gathering saying that it is organized to enlighten the people on their efforts towards the production of a database for The Gambia in few months to come. “IHRDA we “Defend” victims of human rights violations before domestic and regional judicial bodies and also make sure that the judicial decisions lead to positive change, IHRDA we “Educate” by training human rights actors and ensuring that domestic laws epitomize international human rights standards, IHRDA we “Inform” by disseminating information about cases from the African Human Rights System, we also publish and distribute our books on various human rights issues,” asserted Mrs. Nicole.
“We do educate a lot of people about the SGBV throughout Africa” explained Mrs. Nicole. She further said that they have cases against Mali and Guinea on torture and SGBV before the ECOWAS court. The Gambia, according to her, is yet to produce a data base and the website to access information to any country is sgbv.ihrda.org.
Janet R. Sallah Njie, the chairperson of the IHRDA, said the idea of coming up with a data base is timely and the importance cannot be over emphasized. She said coming up with a data base idea is an easy way to access information on judgment and legislation.
They launched a website to access information for different African countries as it is a regional body.
Nfamara S. Jammeh, who did the presentation on the data base, presented reported Gambian court cases including the high court, court of appeal, cadi court of appeal panel as well as the supreme court of The Gambia.
According to him, there are some provisions of the constitution that give priority to women and children such as section 27, 28, 29 and 215 of the constitution. He said in the production of the data base, they made some legal citations under the Legal Aids Act 2008, Women’s (amended) Act 2015, Criminal code amended 2005, 2010, 2011, 2014, 2015etc , Children’s Act 2005, Women’s Act 2010 amongst others.
Justice Hawa Bah of The Gambia Court of Appeal and Dr. Henry D.R. Carrol a senior law lecturer and head of the Gambia law report team all made similar remarks.
The meeting which was chaired by Oludayo Fagbemi, Legal Officer, IHRDA, ended up with questions and answers session.