FLAG trains women, children on access to Justice & Community Policing
By Sulayman Waan
The Female Lawyers Association of The Gambia (FLAG) in partnership with the Programme for the Promotion of the Rule of Law in Sub-Saharan Africa Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS) last Thursday trained women and children on access to Justice and Community Policing at a local hotel in Bakau.
The training aims to equip the women and children with the requisite knowledge and skills on access to justice and community policing in The Gambia to enhance their wellbeing in the society.
In his statement, Ingo Badoreck, the director, Rule of Law Programme Sub-Saharan Africa, Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS), said the conference is geared towards strengthening women and children’s access to justice and community policing in The Gambia.
“Violence against women and children remains the most widespread and pervasive human rights violation in the world,” he said.
According to global estimates by the WHO, violence against women prevalence estimates’ report indicate that 35% of women or nearly one in three women report they have been exposed to physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner or someone else in their lifetime.
However, Director Badoreck said The Gambia is no exception in this regard, adding that common abuses against Gambian women and Children consist typically of harassment, sexual assault, early and force marriage, sexual exploitation and female genital mutilation.
“Violence against women including domestic violence is also a serious problem,” he said, adding “Women may face barriers in accessing justice and obtaining redress for violence.”
He said despite the guarantee of women’s political participation in The Gambia’s Constitution and other local laws, women representation in decision-making bodies and public service is low, justifying that there are low women representation in Local Government and the Parliament.
“Overall, Gambian women face significant social and cultural challenges that can limit their access to education, employment and especially to justice,” he noted.
Hon. Fatou Cham, member of the National Assembly Select Committee on Gender, Children and Social Welfare said: “There is no discussion today that is of greater value and significant than discussions that are centered around the welfare of women and girls; the need for their unfettered to access justice and social care and their protection against abuses, manipulation and violence of all shapes.”
According to the 2019/2020 demographic and Health Survey Report, The Gambia Bureau of Statistics reported that up to 9% of women between the ages of 15 and 49 in The Gambia have ever experience sexual violence, while almost 40% of ever-married women have been subjected to either physical, sexual or emotional violence by their current or most recent partners.
Nevertheless, the lawmaker said the National Assembly Select Committee on Gender, Children and Social Welfare will ensure the interest of women and children are represented and protected to the core to ensure their wellbeing in the society.