ACEPA Engages Sanimentereng Constituency In The Gambia

On the 28th September, 2023 a one-day engagement activity was organized by the Africa Centre for Parliamentary Affairs (ACEPA) in collaboration with The Gambia Parliamentary Caucus on Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) with the objective to campaign for the promotion and protection of FoRB in The Gambia in Sanimentereng. The engagement between members of The Gambian Parliamentary caucus on FoRB and community members was moderated by Ms. Fanta Secka ACEPA-FoRBLN Consultant in the Gambia. The meeting which brought together members of the Community of Sanimentereng, a village under Kombo North District, West Coast Region and Parliamentarians was held at the junction Baa community event centre.

A total of 30 people who are community leaders, youths and CSO’s participated as stakeholders in this meeting. The meeting was opened with prayers from both the Muslim and Christian participants. The purpose of this engagement was to sensitize members of the Community of Sanimentereng on the concept of FoRB and the misconceptions surrounding it as well as address the legislative barriers to freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) and the social mores that support societal hostility towards minority groups on account of their religion or belief.

Hon. Amadou Camara, the Chair of the Parliamentary Caucus on Freedom of Religion or Belief in The Gambia thanked the host MP Hon. Cham, ACEPA delegates, and everyone present for coming to the meeting. He gave a synopsis of what the Parliamentary Caucus on FoRB was all about and why they felt the need to establish it in Parliament. The Caucus comprises of nine (9) Parliamentarians but there is still room for more members to join and partnership. He indicated that MPs represent their community concerns to the government and also determine the budget that addresses those concerns.

It is also known that every citizen has a right to freedom of religion, conscie,nce and thought. He further stated that the Parliamentary Caucus on FoRB was established to promote freedom of religion or belief for all persons, enhance global cooperation, undertake efforts to promote FoRB, support appropriate initiative that advance FoRB for women and young people as well as faith leaders who show a commitment to promote FoRB.

The Executive Director of ACEPA Dr. Rasheed Draman, was represented by Mr. Issifu Lampo, Senior Governance Advisor of ACEPA and he gave a brief statement on his behalf. Mr. Lampo thanked the Parliamentarians present, community elders, and the youth for honouring the invitation. He stated that the engagement was a follow-up on a series of engagements held in different constituencies in The Gambia through the Freedom of Religion or Belief Leadership Network (FORBLN) project this year and buttressed the point that ACEPA needed to continue discussions and engaging communities on issues of FoRB.

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