17 December 2012

Gambia: Training of Female Lawyers On Sharia Law Wraps Up

Female Lawyers Association of The Gambia (FLAG) over the weekend completed a six-weeks training on Sharia Law for its members. The training was funded by the British High Commission's bilateral programme.

Speaking at the closing ceremony held at the Paradise Suites Hotel in Kololi, Ms Neneh M.C. Cham, president of FLAG, said eleven members successfully underwent the training conducted by eminent panel of experts of family aspect of Sharia Law, namely marriage, divorce and inheritance.

She explained that the modules include sources of Sharia Law evidence, marriage, divorce and inheritance, noting that the training was begun in August for a period of six weeks.

"The training means to build the capacity of our members in the area of Islamic personal law, equipping and enabling us to give sound advice and effective representation in the Cadi courts across the country to the clients that visit our legal aid clinic at the secretariat," she said.

She added that it is a fact that a great number of complaints or cases received and handled by their members concerning Islamic personal law, marriage, divorce, custody and inheritance.

"Section 7 of the supreme law of the land, the constitution of the republic of The Gambia makes Sharia Laws as it concerns marriage divorce and inheritance, part of the laws of The Gambia and the women's Act defines "Personal law" as the law regulating the religious belief and conduct of a person," she noted.

She added that the eleven members who voluntarily came forward successfully underwent the training, which demonstrates not only their interest and hunger for knowledge of their personal law but also their commitment to fulfilling part of the mandate of the association, which is to give pro bono legal advice and representation to those women and children who need it but simply cannot afford it.

George Sheriff, British deputy High Commissioner to The Gambia, told the gathering that protecting and promoting the rights of women is a key policy of the British High Commissioner in the Gambia.

He said that discrimination and violence affect the lives of millions of women and girls worldwide. "I am happy that the training has been a resounding success," he said.

According to him, the UK is a key player in advancing women's human rights internationally through their work to promote and protect the rights of women.

He expressed hope that the training would be beneficial and helped create a protective environment for women and children across The Gambia.

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