The Gambian lawmakers Thursday ratified the Statute of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) Women Development Organisation during an Extra-Ordinary Session at the Legislative Chambers in Banjul.
Presenting the motion to the deputies on behalf of the Vice President, Hon.
Bala Garba Jahumpa, Minister of Health and Social Welfare and National Assembly Matters, said the aim of the Organisation among others is to highlight the role of Islam in preserving the rights of Muslim women especially at the international fora.
"The ratification of this Statute shall permit The Gambia to be a member of the Organisation and hence has a say in the running of the organisation. It would also allow Gambians, women in particular, to benefit from programmes and projects to be implemented by the organisation to enhance the socio-economic development and the promotion of the role of women in OIC Member States. The ratification of this Statute will further enable The Gambia to qualify in its bid to host the 2017 OIC Summit", he told deputies.
Hon. Jahumpa explained that the Statute seeks to develop plans, programmes and projects necessary to implement policies, orientations and decisions of the OIC in the area of women development. He said it supports and encourages national efforts in member states to develop human resources in the area of women's development. He informed the lawmakers that the Organisation will activate the rights of women as stated in the OIC Charter by working to remove restrictions to ensure the full participation of women in community building. He said it will also establish an information network that will enable member states to identify experience and practices regarding women, through cooperation with civil society.
Hon. Fatou Mbye, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly seconded the motion. She described the motion as very important, noting that 95 percent of the population are Muslims. She said Islam holds women in high esteem, as there is no Islamic law that discriminates against women. She opined that the creation of the organisation is very important and relevant for Gambian women as the country has registered tremendous progress in women empowerment.
Hon. Sainey Mbye, NAM for Upper Saloum, said the welfare of women should be everyone's concern. He described the motion as very important and timely that seeks to empower the women of Islam. Hon. Haddy Nyang-Jagne, NAM for Jeshwang, averred that the Statute is in line with the tenets of the government and President Jammeh's proactive measure for women development.
Hon. Fabakary Tombong Jatta, Majority leader and NAM for Serrekunda East, said the Organisation will help to enlighten the people about the tenets and principles of Islam. He noted that there are already policies and legal frameworks that seek to develop women issues. He emphasised the need for educating women, which he said is equal to educating a nation.
"Women should not thank us for supporting them because we are part and parcel of them as much as they are part and parcel of us",said Fabakary Tombong Jatta, Majority Leader.
Meanwhile, several members also contributed including Hon. Netty Baldeh, NAM for Tumana, Hon. Habsana Jallow, NAM for Nianija among others. Subsequently, the motion was ratified by the Assembly.