The Point (Banjul)

29 November 2012

Gambia: Youth Human Rights

opinion

The respect for the rights of young people is as important as safeguarding national security. In fact, it is fundamental in ensuring continued peace and stability in the country.

Every person is entitled to certain fundamental rights, simply by the fact of being human. These are called "human rights," rather than a privilege, which can be taken away at someone's impulse.Every person is entitled to certain rights - simply by the fact that they are human beings.

Like other citizens, the rights of the youth need to be protected and respected just as provided by the Gambian law, which is of course the constitution.

The blatant violation of the rights of the youth could result into severer consequences for any country.

One case in point is the unlawful detention of four youths of the village of Kuwonkunding in the Wuli West district of the Upper River Region at Janjangbureh prison.

It has been reported that it was an event without a court order. Saloum Barrow, Alhagie Touray, Almameh Touray and Mamudou Touray were sent to remand purportedly ordered by the police commissioner in Basse, Ouman Jatta, and URR Governor Omar Khan.

The laws in The Gambia are very clear and do not at any point empower any local authority to imprison anyone.

If anyone does so, then that person or authority is just doing it at his or her own will but there is no legal backing to justify such actions.

I, therefore, call on the relevant authorities including the Honorable Minister of the Interior and the Inspector General of Police to kindly intervene in the matter by ensuring that these youths unlawfully incarcerated are freed.

In fact, anyone unlawfully detained has the right to sue those behind his or her detention.

I am of the view that there is absolute need to reinforce capacities of duty-bearers (usually government officials) including of course local authorities to respect, protect and guarantee the fundamental human rights of young people.

My advice to the young people of the country has always been clear and that is, we must continue to be law-abiding, respect authority and fight for our rights.

Do not at any point in time compromise the violation of your rights but be also responsible and respect the rights of others. Stand firm on your fundamental human rights and say no to human rights abusers.

I must emphasise that human rights are not negotiable.

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