THE NIANIJA CONSTITUENCY ENGAGEMENT ON FREEDOM OF RELIGION OR BELIEF (FORB) IN CENTRAL RIVER REGION (CRR), THE GAMBIA

On the 5th of August 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 peace and peaceful co-existence in Nianija, CRR. 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 Buduck, a village under Nianija Constituency and Parliamentarians was held at the village conference hall. A total of 30 participants took part in the meeting.

Nianija is a Constituency with 100% Muslims and the meeting was opened with prayers from the Imam of Buduck. The purpose of this engagement was to sensitize members of the Community of Buduck and other neighbouring villages 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.

Ms. Secka thanked the Chief of Nianija for mobilizing community members for the meeting, and also thanked Parliamentarians present, community elders and the youth for honouring the invitation. She stated that the meeting was a follow-up on other Constituency engagements they held in Wellingara, Brikama South and Serrekunda this year and buttressed the point that, ACEPA needed to continue discussions and engaging communities on issues of FoRB.

She expressed delight in learning that Nianija is a Constituency with 100% Muslims where peace and peaceful coexistence reigns. She hoped important lesson would be learnt by ACEPA’s representatives and Members of Parliament present.

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