By Sanna Camara
Despite being a party to numerous treaties and hosting the African Commission, human rights advocates have observed that there is a major gap between the provisions of the Gambia’s domestic laws, the international instruments and the reality on the ground in the country.
Many of these international instruments are not reflected in national legislations and practice, said Dr. Aristide Aononsi, executive Director of the Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa.
Dr. Aononsi said this at the opening of a training workshop on supra-national human rights protection procedures for civil societies in The Gambia.
Government upholding certain standards
“We are coming here today to close this gap bringing awareness on how these international instruments can in fact be applicable to domestic law, how they bind the government to uphold certain standards…,” said he.
Adding that it will also include how these may provide a good avenue for victims of human rights violations who do not have any available or effective remedy at the domestic level, and how these international instruments apply before local courts.
“By bridging this gap, we can work together to improve the human rights situation in our sub-region,” Dr. Aononsi noted.
Creating a human rights commission
The head of the regional human rights institute said it was a commendable effort for the Gambia government to take the lead in creating a human rights commission: “I think it lies with us in the civil society to support. The value of this workshop in preparing us to render that type of support cannot be over emphasized.”
Participants in the two days will be dealing with issue of protection and enforcement of human rights in The Gambia and the sub-region; domestic justiciability of economic, social and economic rights at the sub-regional level, ECOWAS, regional and international framework for the protection of human rights at sub-regional levels, and procedure before the ECOWAS Court, among others.