Gambia: Interior Minister Calls for Robust Actions to Support Criminal Justice Processes

The Minister of Interior has said that the government of The Gambia through the Drug Law Enforcement Agency, The Gambia (DLEAG) will implement robust actions to strengthen the interdiction capacity and support criminal justice processes.

This, he said, would ensure speedy trial of persons charged with drug related offences within the framework of human rights based approach to law enforcement.

Yankuba Sonko was speaking recently during commemorations marking the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking (World Drug Day) 2020. The theme for this year's commemoration is; 'Better knowledge for better care'

"This will guarantee the right of accused persons and promote compliance with national and international legal requirements. The Gambia like other countries in the sub-region, remains vulnerable to the trafficking and consumption of illicit drugs. It is evident that there is a clear connection between illicit drug trafficking and terrorist financing, money laundering etc. I therefore call on all Gambians and residents of the country to be vigilant and complement Government's efforts in the crusade on drugs and related activities by reporting suspicious drug trafficking and related criminal activities."

Minister Sonko maintained that by resolution 42/112 of 7 December 1987, the General Assembly decided to celebrate each year on June 26th, to highlight the dangers of drug use and their illegal trade and provide educational material to teachers and public officials all over the world.

This, he said, is to help spread the message about the extreme cultural and economic harm the trade in drugs is still having on communities across the globe one hundred years after the war on drugs was initially launched in Shanghai around the start of the 20th Century.

"Over the years, DLEAG is engaged in tailor-made drug demand reduction activities including radio talk shows, community sensitisation, school outreach programs among others. These activities are geared towards providing people with the right information in order to make informed decision on drugs and related matters," he added.

As we celebrate this day, he said, the government of the Gambia renews it commitment to attain health, security and justice for all by tackling threats posed by drug abuse and trafficking.

"My Ministry will continue to provide the necessary leadership to ensure that the Drug Law Enforcement Agency, the Gambia (DLEAG) implement the National Drug Control Strategy (2019-2023) and enforce the Drug Control Act in line with the three international drug conventions, namely single convention on narcotic drugs, convention on psychotropic substances and the convention against illicit traffic of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances."

Minister Sonko indicated that as part of the commemoration, the anti-Narcotic Agencies, individuals, communities and various NGOs and Community Based Organizations all over the world are engaged in raising awareness on the problem that illicit drugs present to societies and mobilise support for scientifically proven evidence based interventions, prevention and treatment strategies.

"Recently, the field of addressing the world drugs problem has been plagued by misinformation of many kinds. The theme therefore emphasizes the need to improve the understanding of people on the world drug problem to foster greater international cooperation for countering its impact on health, governance and security."

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