ACEPA Organizes a National Seminar on Freedom of Religion or Belief in The Gambia.

As part of efforts to raise the visibility of the Gambia caucus on Freedom of Religion or
Belief (FoRB), foster regular engagement between caucus members and The Gambian public,
the African Centre for Parliamentary Affairs (ACEPA) and its partners, in collaboration
with the National Assembly of The Gambia, organized a one-day seminar on the theme: FoRB,
Religious Intolerance and the Rise of Hate Speech in The Gambia: What Role for MPs
and other Stakeholders. The meeting which brought together The Gambia Members of the
Parliamentary Caucus on FoRB, Faith leaders from both the Muslim and Christian
community as well representatives from civil society (CSO’s) was held at the Christian
Council of The Gambia, on 16th June, 2023.

Representing the Chairman of the Parliamentary Caucus on FoRB in The Gambia, Hon.
Lamin J. Sanneh thanked everyone present for finding time to attend the meeting and thanked
ACEPA for organizing such a meeting. He stated that the gathering is organized for
constructive dialogue on FoRB and the need to access individual rights to freedom of religion
or belief bearing in mind the issues surrounding the wearing of the veil in mission schools.
He further stated that the Parliamentary Caucus on FoRB was established to promote freedom
of religion or belief for all persons through their work and in their respective institutions,
enhance global cooperation, undertake efforts to promote FoRB, support appropriate
initiative that advance FoRB for women and young people and identify and support future
parliamentarians and faith leaders who show a commitment to promote FoRB. He concluded
by thanking ACEPA again for the initiative and everyone present.

The seminar, as was expected, provided the opportunity for participants to cross-fertilize
ideas and come out with a pathway on how best to address the creeping intolerance among
people of different religious affiliations, rising tide of religious extremism and its
concomitant effect on the socio-political fabric of The Gambian society. Below are
suggestions distilled from discussion of the seminar.