31 December 2012

Gambia: Gov't Officials Trained On Refugee Laws

The Gambia Refugee Commission has recently concluded a two-day training for senior government officials, members of the armed and security services and the National Assembly members, on the Gambia Refugee Act 2008, the United Nations Convention on Refugees 1951 and the AU Convention of Refugee 1969. The training was held at the NaNA conference hall in Kanifing.

Mamadou Nai Ceesay, chairman of the Gambia Commission for Refugee, reminded that the National Assembly passed the Gambia Refuge Act in 2008, which created the Gambia Commission for Refugees.

He said The Gambia has been hosting refugees since 1970, and that refugees have been enjoying full protection from government and their host communities where they have been residing since their arrival in The Gambia.

His words: "With such a noble gesture from the government and the people of The Gambia, The Gambia has earned a very good reputation for accepting the refugees during difficult times and have assisted refugees during their stay in the country". All of this Ceesay noted, cannot be possible without the support of President Jammeh.

Speaking on behalf of the director general of the Gambia Immigration Department, Chief Superintendent Abass Jobarteh disclosed that Gambia government has established Refugee Commission in 2010 with the support of the UNHCR to make the government more responsible in providing care and protection to refugees in the country. Thus, he indicated, capacity building will be of paramount importance, given the operational function of the secretariat to be more effective in their daily functions. He called on the stakeholders and participants in the training programme to be more focused.

Commissioner Oulay Jallow, an officer at the Refugee Commission in The Gambia, affirmedthat it were the 1951 United Nations Convention, its Protocol 1967 and the 1969 then OAU Convention that led to the establishment of the Gambia Refugee Commission. She such a workshop is very vitalsince it involves senior government officials.

Buruma Jaiteh, the UNHCR country representative, said The Gambia has been and remains an active member of the international community, and a tremendous assistant to refugees for many years now, such as Siera Leonians, some of who, he said have left now as peace is restored in their country.

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