By: Kebba AF Touray
The Gambia Government on Tuesday 21st July 2020, presented a bill entitled The Prevention and Prohibition of Torture Bill 2020.
Justice Minister, Dawda Jallow, told lawmakers that the bill inter alia seeks to provide the legal framework for the prohibition, prevention and punishment of any form of torture and cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment in the Gambia.
He added in addition, it seeks to cover the duty imposed on all persons to report all forms of torture and inhumane treatment to relevant authorities and also provides for the protection of witnesses, victims and persons reporting torture.
The motion was seconded by Alagie Sowe, the National Assembly Member for Jimara Constituency, who also welcomed the initiative as it will enhance protection of witnesses and victims while reporting cases of torture.
Suwaibou Touray member for Wuli East, said the move is the first of its kind and said there is need to provide legal aid to complainants, to ensure fair and just redress can be accorded to them (complainants).He also called for fair compensation for the victims for the mental damage they may sustain because of torture
Jarra East Parliamentarian, Sainey Touray, said the pursuit for the respect for human dignity and freedom cannot be underestimated. Touray said no one deserves to be tortured, adding the bill seeks to put an end to the menace, so that the respect for human dignity and freedom that they have been yearning for can be attained.
Member for Sami, Alfusainey Ceesay, said torture is a grave violation of the fundamental human rights of victims.
Hon. Ceesay also called for sensitization on the menace of torture and the bill, so that the bill achieves its intended purpose.
Samba Jallow, Minority Leader and Member for Niamina Dankunku, said some tortures have everlasting effects on victims and as such coming up with the bill will ensure that no person shall be subjected to torture.
The bill is yet to be passed into law.