Sarjo Camara Singateh
30 police officers from the Gambia Police Force have benefitted from a five-day capacity building training on human rights organized by TANGO with funding from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a United States based Civil society organization that funds training of civil society members on human rights and democracy.
The training was conducted at the TANGO hall from 17th 21st of Nov 2014.
Mr.Madi Jobarteh, the Deputy Executive Director of The Association of non Governmental organizations (TANGO) said the rationale is to look at a wider dimension to target the police officers. He said as the law enforcement officers, they should be trained to understand the concepts, values and standards.
He said enforcement of the law is the primary responsibility of the police and whoever is enforcing the law, is effectively protecting the citizens.
“We understand that the Gambia police service as a Gambian institution has a limited capacity on human rights that is why we believe that training them would not be a waste of resources,” said Jobarteh.
“A police officer may call him or herself a law enforcement officer and what does the law enforcement entails that could be critical to their work?” He asked. Mr. Jobarteh said law enforcement is essentially protecting human rights.
He noted that many people in the Gambia are not clear about human rights; that some believe that human rights is about another culture or is a borrowed idea etc, and these misconceptions surrounding human rights in our society makes it a difficult field.
He expressed hope that many more police officers would be trained on human rights. “We understand that the police have human rights unit, these are the unit members and we hope to train them further,” suggested Jobarteh.
“If the police force is empowered it will reduce the crimes in the society, and it will bring lasting peace in the country. Their work will be easier for them if they work with the public. The Police alone cannot ensure the peace and security of this country without the participation or support of the general public,” opined Jobarteh.
Madi Jobarteh said civil society is an important part of the state, and are the third pillar of the state. He said the mandate of the CSO is to improve the capacity of the citizens and this can be achieved in a respectful relationship between the government and civil society.
He said the Gambia is a least developed country and as far as the police are concerned, they face many challenges.
The executive director of TANGO, Mr. Ousman Yabo, on his closing remarks commended the law enforcement officers for completing the training successfully. He calls on attendees to make good use of the knowledge gained. He said promotion cannot be achieved without merit or the development of oneself.
Mr. Njundu Drammeh, Coordinator of Child Protection Alliance and a co trainer advised the trained police officers to conduct research on the modules delivered. He told the participants that they should preach what they do that makes people to judge them as professionals in their own rights.
Ms. Sarjo Sanyang, a Chief Inspector who doubles as Assistant Human Rights Officer at the Police Human rights unit, thanked Tango for the training and also advised his colleagues to put this knowledge into practice at their various regions.