By: Kebba AF Touray

Deputies at the National Assembly, Friday June 22nd 2018, ratified the second Optional Protocol of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, aimed at abolishing the death penalty in the Gambia.

Foreign Affairs Minister Ousainou Darboe, in moving the motion, said the convention was signed by the president of the Gambia Adama Barrow, during the 72nd United Nations General Assembly in New York; that the Gambia continues to promote democracy and show commitment to abolish the death penalty and the continuation of the moratorium on execution of persons condemned to death.

“The signing of the treaty by the president on its ratification by this august assembly, is a commitment by all of us to bring to an end, the inhuman practice of the death penalty. By the signing of this agreement, the Gambia commits itself to the absolute belief that, the abolition of the death penalty contributes to the enhancement of human dignity and the progressive development of human rights,” he said.

Darboe said the 1997 Constitution of the country provides, that no person be deprived of life intentionally, except in the execution of a sentence authorized by Law and imposed by a Court, after a Lawful conviction; that it further provides that no sentence of death can be imposed for any offense unless it involves violence or the administration of a toxic substance and results in death, and calls for a review of the death penalty and consideration of its total abolition.

Darboe stressed that Section 216 of the 1997 Constitution, suggests that the Gambia “shall be bound by the fundamental rights and freedoms in the Constitutions and shall be guided by International Human Rights instruments, to which the Gambia is a signatory to and recognize and apply particular categories of basic human rights, to all development processes.”

He underscored that Section 219 provides that the Gambia “shall endeavor to ensure that in International Relations, for International Law, treaty obligations and the settlement of International disputes by peaceful means, is fostered and respected and as well guided by the principles and goals of International and Regional Organizations, of which the Gambia is a signatory to.”

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