As the debate between The Gambia Government and the European Union EU continues, Foroyaa would want the Gambian people to know what the Government signed in the Cotonou Agreement.
ARTICLE 9 of the Agreement establishes essential elements regarding human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law, and fundamental element regarding good governance which the signatories to the agreement are supposed to observe. If the EU fails to observe the content of the agreement the Gambia Government could raise the concerns during the political dialogue under article 8. In the same vein if the Gambia Government fails to observe the content of the Agreement the EU could raise the concerns during the political dialogue
Article 9 reads:
"Cooperation shall be directed towards sustainable development centred on the human person, who is the main protagonist and beneficiary of development; this entails respect for and promotion of all human rights.
Respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms, including respect for fundamental social rights, democracy based on the rule of law and transparent and accountable governance are an integral part of sustainable development.
2. The Parties refer to their international obligations and commitments concerning respect for human rights.
They reiterate their deep attachment to human dignity and human rights, which are legitimate aspirations of individuals and peoples. Human rights are universal, indivisible and inter related.
The Parties undertake to promote and protect all fundamental freedoms and human rights, be they civil and political, or economic, social and cultural. In this context, the Parties reaffirm the equality of men and women.
The Parties reaffirm that democratisation, development and the protection of fundamental freedoms and human rights are interrelated and mutually reinforcing.
Democratic principles are universally recognised principles underpinning the organisation of the State to ensure the legitimacy of its authority, the legality of its actions reflected in its constitutional, legislative and regulatory system, and the existence of participatory mechanisms. On the basis of universally recognised principles, each country develops its democratic culture.
The structure of government and the prerogatives of the different powers shall be founded on rule of law, which shall entail in particular effective and accessible means of legal redress, an independent legal system guaranteeing equality before the law and an executive that is fully subject to the law.
Respect for human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law, which underpin the ACP-EU Partnership, shall underpin the domestic and international policies of the Parties and constitute the essential elements of this Agreement.
3. In the context of a political and institutional environment that upholds human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law, good governance is the transparent and accountable management of human,
natural, economic and financial resources for the purposes of equitable and sustainable development.
It entails clear decision-making procedures at the level of public authorities, transparent and accountable institutions, the primacy of law in the management and distribution of resources and capacity building for elaborating and implementing measures aiming in particular at preventing and combating corruption.
Good governance, which underpins the ACP-EU Partnership, shall underpin the domestic and international policies of the Parties and constitute a fundamental element of this Agreement. The Parties agree that only serious cases of corruption, including acts of bribery leading to such corruption, as defined in Article 97 constitute a violation of that element.
4. The Partnership shall actively support the promotion of human rights, processes of democratisation, consolidation of the rule of law, and good governance.
These areas will be an important subject for the political dialogue. In the context of this dialogue, the Parties shall attach particular importance to the changes underway and to the continuity of the progress achieved. This regular assessment shall take into account each country's economic, social, cultural and historical context.
These areas will also be a focus of support for development strategies. The Community shall provide support for political, institutional and legal reforms and for building the capacity of public and private actors and civil society in the framework of strategies agreed jointly between the State concerned and the Community.
The Gambian people deserve to be informed of the content of all international and bilateral agreements the government has signed on their behalf and ratified by the National Assembly.