By Louise Jobe
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has held its first retreat from the 16th to 19th of December 2020 in Kanilai in the West Coast Region of the Gambia.
The retreat brought together Commissioners and staff of the Commission for the first time, during their two years of existence.
The event was designed to give them an opportunity to self-assess and scrutinize their work on their journey to create a culture of human rights in the Gambia.
Highlights of their symbolic synergy according to the authorities of the Commission include the frank discussions and focus which everyone brought to the table, during the four day convergence. Thorough assessment was done on the success stories and challenges encountered and a roadmap was developed to achieve milestones in the 2021 calendar year. The newly adopted five year strategic plan of the Commission was thoroughly discussed to help staff better understand the content, in order to serve as a reference point and guide in the implementation plans of programs and projects.
During the series of presentations by selected staff members, the 2017 Act that establishes the Commission and its 2020 amendments were discussed, as well as the State of the Human Right situation in the Gambia.
It could be recalled that the NHRC was established in 2017 and it came into being in January 2018 with a broad mandate to promote and protect human rights in the Gambia. Its establishment is in-line with the Paris principles and is a key determinant of the democratic character of States.
Since its establishment, the Commission has embarked on a series of monitoring visits including to prisons and Police Stations for an assessment, on the condition upon which detainees and prisoners are held, and issued advisory notes to Government demanding that minimum international standards are respected.
In the coming weeks and months, the Commission is expected to submit a detailed state of human rights report with recommendations to Government and the ECOWAS Authority.