The United States Under-Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights Uzra Zeya, yesterday presided over the launching of the 'Improving Access to Justice in The Gambia Project'.
The project launch, held at the Ocean Bay Hotel was supported by the International Development Law Organisation (IDLO), an intergovernmental organisation with observer status at the UN, whose mandate is exclusively devoted to promoting the rule of law to advance peace and sustainable development.
Madam Zeya, in her remarks, stated that the U.S. government project represents a vision by both countries to deliver "affordable, impartial and effective justice for the people."
For more than two decades, she explained, that the dictatorial regime carried out extensive violations of the fundament of human rights, and basic freedoms and undermined the vision of a just society.
She applauded the Gambians for embracing democracy and demanded respect for human rights and justice after 22 years of the dictatorial regime. She further uderlined that justice and rule of law are an important shared priority for the Gambia and the U.S.
Through the project, she explained that IDLO will partner with local training institutions to develop and provide specialised training curricula for judges, magistrates, and prosecutors. IDLO, she said, will also work with civil society to help sensitise individuals in local communities to their rights and explain how the judiciary can protect these rights.
The New IDLO project is expected to support the creation of an automated transcription and recording system for magistrate courts, which will help save time, clear case backlogs and help deliver justice where it is needed.