Opening Statement by the Hon. Justice Mama Fatima Senghateh, Attorney General and Minister of Justice of the Republic of The Gambia

    OPENING STATEMENT ON THE 54TH ORDINARY SESSION OF THE AFRICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN AND PEOPLES’ RIGHTS BY HONOURABLE JUSTICE  MAMA FATIMA SINGHATEH THE ATTORNEY GENERAL AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE GAMBIA AT HE KAIRABA BEACH HOTEL,

    22ND OCTOBER 2013

    Honourable Chairperson of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights,

    Honourable Members of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, 

    Members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps accredited to the Republic of The Gambia,

    Distinguished Delegates of African Union Member States, 

    Distinguished Representatives of International Organizations,

    Distinguished Representatives of National Human Rights Institutions, 

    Distinguished Representatives of Non-Governmental Organizations,

    Distinguished Invited Guests, 

    Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

    All Protocols respectfully observed;

    I am indeed very honoured to deliver the opening statement for the 54th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights which is being hosted here in Banjul.

    On behalf of His Excellency, the President of the Republic of The Gambia, Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr. Yahya A. J. J. Jammeh, the Government and the People of The Gambia, I welcome you all to the smiling Coast of Africa. 

    The Government of The Gambia is pleased to once again host another Ordinary Session of the African Commission.

    Yours Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

    While many African countries are thriving even amidst the global economic crisis, as a continent we are still facing a number of challenges that disrupt our progress towards peace and development. Acts of terrorism against our populations and wars are still disrupting the lives of many of our brothers and sisters in Africa. This year’s terrorist attacks in Kenya, Tanzania and Nigeria have shaken the hearts of our people and the internal conflicts in Somalia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic and Mali continue to deprive millions of Africans of the enjoyment of their human rights. 

    The Government of The Gambia reiterates its support to the AU, its Organs and the International Community in their quest to end conflicts in our continent and also in the war against terrorism which unfortunately are becoming too frequent, not only in Africa but all over the world. We have and will continue to advocate for the peace and security of our continent and its people.

    Our citizens must enjoy their rights in Africa and not feel obliged to embark on perilous trips while searching for better lives on other continents. Just in the last quarter of 2013, the Mediterranean Ocean has become a cemetery for our beloved brothers, sisters and children who, swindled by unscrupulous individuals, embark on a one-way trip towards a dream life that sometimes result in the loss of their lives. 

    In this context and on behalf of the Government of The Gambia, I call on African leaders to push on with the war against terrorism and continue promoting peace and security throughout the continent so that Africans enjoy the beauty and riches of our beloved continent. Our continent is rich, not only economically, but also culturally and intellectually, this is what we must nurture and protect. In our diversity lies our strength.

    For its part, the Government of The Gambia is working tirelessly to improve the lives of our citizens. Great efforts are being made specially to create opportunities for our youths so that they are able to fulfill their dreams in their own country and in this way participate in its development. 

    Your Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

    The African Commission has over the years, been striving to promote and protect human rights in Africa, and I wish to recognize the fundamental contribution that it has made in tackling human rights issues on the Continent.

    We are proud of the Commission’s achievements. I am informed that despite great financial constrains facing it, the African Commission, has been able to successfully deliver on the mandate. Twenty-six years of existence and fifty-four Ordinary Sessions of convening the most important stakeholders’ gathering on human rights on the Continent are inter alia indeed achievements worthy of commendation. 

    Your Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

    Our contributions as Governments, National Human Rights Institutions, Non-Governmental Organizations, and all other stakeholders working in the human rights arena, are indeed very important towards ensuring the effective promotion and protection of human and peoples’ rights in Africa. This forum of the African Commission provides the required platform for contributing to this important work and broadly, for discussing and engaging on fundamental issues of human and peoples’ rights on our continent. I would therefore like to thank all stakeholders present, for their continued commitment towards the advancement of human rights in Africa, and to further express the commitment of the Government of The Republic of The Gambia to support the work of the African Commission and in general to protect and promote human rights in Africa.

    The Government of The Gambia is fully committed to provide a safe environment not only to its citizens but also o all those who are either residing or visiting our country.

    Your Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

    On behalf of His Excellency The President, Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr. Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh, the Government and the People of The Republic of The Gambia, I once again welcome you all to The Smiling Coast of Africa.

    And I have the singular honour and privilege to declare the 54th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights OFFICIALLY OPEN and wish you all very fruitful deliberations during this session. 

    I thank you all for your kind attention.

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      Date: 23 October 2013

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