The Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA) organized a three-day training workshop that marked the second phase of a human rights capacity-building program for The Gambia’s State Intelligence Services – SIS (previously known as the National Intelligence Agency – NIA).
The training workshop that ran from 16-18 January 2018 was conducted for 40 SIS Officers.
Discussions included diverse and pertinent issues related to their functions, notably basic human rights concepts; fundamental rights in The Gambia’s Constitution; the right to personal liberty; prohibition of torture; arrest and search procedures; the rights of detainees; national security and human rights; as well as rights of women, children and non-nationals. All topics were discussed within the contexts of Gambian and international law.
Speaking at the closing of the workshop, UK Ambassador to The Gambia expressed the wish of The UK to support the promotion of human rights and development in The Gambia, and expressed gratitude to the SIS Management for its openness to issues of human rights which is pertinent for successful national security.
On his part, the Director General of the SIS, Ousman Sowe, welcomed the initiative which fits into the ongoing reforms in The SIS.
“Let us use the human rights based approach in conducting our daily activities of ensuring national security”, the SIS Chief exhorted his colleagues, adding that the SIS has not only cut down but has in fact cut off the excesses in carrying their functions.
IHRDA’s Executive Director, Gaye Sowe thanked the SIS Management for inviting to the training participants from sister agencies. He added that Gambia has very progressive laws but the biggest challenge is their implementation.
It should be noted that this second human rights capacity building program for the SIS was funded by the British Embassy in Banjul. It will be followed by a training of trainers’ workshop to ensure in-house capacity for human rights education. The program will also include the development of a human rights manual for the SIS.