‘Failure of draft constitution a great setback for SSR’
By Cherno Omar Bobb
The EU ambassador to The Gambia, Corrado Pampaloni has said that the failure of the draft constitution was a great setback for the Security Sector Reform (SSR) and therefore urged the government of The Gambia to continue their commitment to both the draft constitution and transitional justice process.
Ambassador Pampaloni made the remarks yesterday, Wednesday during the Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF) Security Sector Reform Process Conference to demonstrate the progress and achievements made on SSR at Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara Conference Centre in Bijilo.
He observed that The Gambia government took a bold move to launch a very broad reform agenda of which SSR is a critical component, adding that they demonstrated commitment from the beginning, but there is the challenge of sustaining the momentum.
“The Constitutional reform process, the transitional justice process and SSR are very much interlinked but we believe more can be done to coordinate among the processes,” he added.
“In substance, the Constitutional and Security Sector Reforms are expected milestones on the path of democratic consolidation. In addition, effective implementation of the White Paper issued in May this year which follows up on the Truth Reconciliation and Reparation Commission (TRRC) recommendations, is key for building a robust and resilient national reconciliation,” he also said.
Mr. Pampaloni added that SSR is an important element of the Transitional Justice agenda as it helps to promote democracy, rule of law, good governance and in doing so enhances public confidence in the security of The Gambia.
He said EU stands by The Gambia on all key reforms on the path of democracy, rule of law and national reconciliation.
He quoted Nelson Mandela who once said that: “Safety and security don’t just happen, they are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear.”
He pointed out that in view of the current world situation but especially in relation to the Sahel and the countries on the coast of West Africa, a good foundation and a healthy structure in the security sector is more important than ever.
Kenneth Isaac, head of DCAF, Banjul Office, said they have been supporting the SSR process in The Gambia since its inception with the aim to ensure The Gambia Police Force and The Gambia Immigration Department are more effective in ensuring human security at individual and community levels with due regard to international human rights standards.
Seedy Touray, the director general of The Gambia Immigration Department, in deputising for the minister of Interior, expressed Gambia government’s commitment to enhancing the accountability of its security institutions for a prosperous Gambia.
He added that the SSR would cultivate an effective, robust, professional, apolitical, accountable, transparent, and responsive sector in line with international best practice.
Meanwhile, DCAF in partnership with the ONS has developed a legal database, which provides access to the legislations and policies governing the security sector in The Gambia.