By Rohey Jadama
Child Protection Alliance (CPA) has concluded a two day sensitization
workshop on the concluding observation of the 2nd and 3rd Periodic
Report of the Convention on the Right of the Child (CRC) and UniversalPeriodic Review(UPR) for the National Assembly Select Committee on
Children held at the new national Assembly building in Banjul on
Friday, 26th June, 2015.
Speaking to the participants, the Deputy Speaker of the National
Assembly, Hon. Fatou Mbye, said the CRC periodic report and the UPR
recommendations are indeed very important to any country that wants
progress in the area of children as both are centered on the
fulfillment of Government responsibility in collaboration with its
She said issues affecting children’s survival and development are
paramount to the Government of the Gambia which has been manifested in
all Government developmental agenda and policies, especially in the
education and health sectors.
The National Assembly, she said, is willing to work and give its
untiring support to both Government and civil society organizations to
ensure the effective implementation of the outcomes of the reports
after a very careful study. “I assure you that we maintain an open
door policy for issues of children being cross cutting affects
everyone and requires a collective responsibility to ensure it’s
realization,” said the deputy speaker.
She said the Government of the Gambia is committed to the realization
of the rights and protection of all children as part of their duty as
a party to the United Nations CRC as well as other international
conventions and treaties of which the Gambia is a signatory to. She
said all these are efforts geared towards creating that enabling
environment where all children will be opportune to become responsible
adults and citizens.
The deputy speaker said as stakeholders in this effort, the National
Assembly has been very active in the journey and thus played a key
role in the endorsement of national legislations and key policies and
programs that are child rights and protection related which clearly
manifest that there is a high political will and commitment.
She said the National Assembly Select Committee on Children will be
in close touch with CPA and other stakeholders to push the agenda
forward and it is also important to note that recently the National
Assembly launched in collaboration with UNICEF a budget observatory
platform for children all geared towards their welfare and interest.
For his part, Mr. Njundu Drammeh, National Coordinator CPA, said the
National Assembly is a key stakeholder to issues relating to the
rights of children and they are deeply committed to the cause of
children. He said they also know that the leaders of the Assembly are
also champions of the rights of children and women.
“We are here to talk about those children we all refer to as the
future of the nation and we will be discussing very important
recommendations affecting children; concluding observations of the CRC
and the recommendations of the UPR and the concluding observations
from the Gambia 2nd and 3rd combine periodic report of the conventions
on the rights of the child,” he said.
Pierre Jatta, representing the Director of Social Welfare, said the
UPR and the concluding observations on the combine 2nd and 3rd CRC
periodic report are indeed important and that both are mechanisms to
help countries accelerate in the fulfillment of their obligations and
commitments under various children and human rights treaties.
He said the recommendations and concluding observations are not in any
way criticism of the efforts of the Government but rather points out
the issues affecting children and how legislations can be better
strengthened and what civil society actors, UN agencies and other
international bodies could do to support government, communities,
parents and children in realizing the rights of all children.
Mariama Jallow, President of Voice of the Young, said the sole purpose
of organizing the workshop is to look into the Universal Periodic
Report and the concluding observations and see how best the
recommendations which highlight the amendment and enforcement of
legislations that protect the rights of children such as the
elimination of all forms of discrimination, harmful traditional
practices, including FGM and child marriage, sexual exploitation and
all other forms of violence affecting children in one way or the
“We know you can do it, we know you can make the Gambia a better place
for children because you have the capacity and most importantly the
authority to do so,” she told the law makers.
CPA Board Chairman, Sheikh Lewis, said CPA is the biggest child right
organization in the Gambia which was established a decade ago with the
mandate of child right promotion and protection. He said the National
Assembly members are key partners of CPA and that their partnership
will grow from strength to strength.