(JollofNews) – Gambia’s Public Protector Fatou Njie-Jallow has reiterated her commitment to protect the rights and freedoms of Gambians as the country moves towards a new direction.
The end of 22-year of dictatorship by the Jammeh regime has opened a new era for Gambians in quest for democracy and freedom.
“The Ombudsman enhances the lofty goals of good governance through access to justice, promotion of the rule of law and protection of human rights,” she told security officers in her opening remarks at a one-day workshop held on Tuesday at the Senegambia Beach Hotel.
The Office of the Ombiudsman was established by an Act of Parliament in 1997and has among its functions the responsibility to ‘investigate complains of injustice, corruption, abuse of power, maladministration and unfair treatment of any person by a public officer in the exercise of his or her official duties.’
Mrs Fatou Njie-Jallow said the Ombudsman serves as as public protector, complaints commission, human rights protector and mediator.
“The Ombudsman also serves as a broker not only to articulate the rights of the ordinary citizen but also to act as a check on the adminstrative arms of government,” she pointed out.
As the institution continues to gain momentum, the Ombudsman disclosed that her office receives hundreds of complaints every year. The Ombudsman, she went on, after holding any inquiry or investigation recommends appropriate action or steps for the remedying, correction or reversal of matters through means that are fair.
She then reaffirmed the importance placed by the Office of the Ombudsman in the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms of all Gambians particularly those in prisons and detention.
She further stated that her office requested from the Minister of Interior to have unrestricted access to prisons, police cells and all places of detention. She added that the request was subsequently given a favourable consideration by Interior Minister Mai Ahmad Fatty, allowing them to pursue a mission they have been struggling to achieve during these past years.
In an attempt to shed light on the objectives of the visits on detention centres, she said it will help to conduct inspections and investigations which make prisons and all detention centres more transparent and to draw attention to problem and conditions vulnerable inmates are confronted with.
“The Ombudsman will ensure that detainees are kept in a conducive environment and to report to government its findings and make appropriate recommendations in line with the optional protocal on the convention against torture and all degrading acts,” she assured.
Participants were drawn from Gambia Armed Forces (GAF), the Police, State Intelligence Service (SIS), National Drug and Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA).