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 H.E Adama Barrow at convection ceremony of the UTG
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9180 Posts

Posted - 15 Jan 2018 :  20:22:12  Show Profile Send Momodou a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Culled from H.E President Adama Barrow FB page

University of the Gambia has tasked me, my government and the people of The Gambia to maintain and keep improving on our Human Rights by honouring me with the Doctor of Laws and Human Rights ( Honoris Causa). Thank you for the recognition. However I will maintain my name and would like to be simply referred to as Mr Adama Barrow, President of the Republic of The Gambia.

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate my co-recipient, Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara for setting the pace for human rights in The Gambia.

Below is the statement I read at the 10th Convocation of the UTG.
I am indeed delighted and honoured to participate in the 10th Convocation Ceremony of the University of The Gambia. As you are aware, this is my maiden address to Convocation since I assumed the mantle of leadership of this country almost a year ago. From the outset, I congratulate all graduates and their families for the achievement and success being celebrated today.
Convocation is an important milestone in the educational journey of a student as it marks the end of one stage in the journey through life, and the beginning of another.
It is also an important occasion for society, because the stock of educated and qualified human resources on whom it relies for its development and transformation is increased and strengthened by that number of graduating young men and women. Thus, Convocation provides not only an opportunity for celebration, but also an occasion for reflection and for us to reason together.
Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen
The focus of this maiden address on this special day is the all-important theme of Human Rights and Development. As we witness and celebrate the dawn of a new era in Gambian history, we renew our determination in pursuit of human rights and development across our nation. We are conscious of the opportunity and responsibility to promote and uphold the fundamental dignity and equality of all people.
It is with extreme gratitude to our new Government and the great and beautiful people of The Gambia that I make this brief statement today.
With thanks to Allah the Almighty, the New Gambia has the energy and determination to promote and protect freedom, peace and stability, and enact the highest level of human rights. As a fundamental priority of our Government, Gambians will increasingly enjoy the rights and freedom that enhance their development across all spheres.
The right to development itself is a basic human right, and entitles all people in our country to contribute to the economic, social, cultural and political advancement of The Gambia, whereby our fundamental freedoms can be fully respected and realised.
While our Government is entrusted to exercise power, so too it is assigned to ensure the basic needs of its people. I therefore, wish to reaffirm our Government’s commitment to meeting these needs.
The importance of human rights education cannot be over-emphasised. Through meaningful education as undertaken by our new graduates, we hope to encourage the graduates to work with society to promote, protect and advance human rights, justice and dignity for every Gambian in keeping with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Our Government is committed to ensure and sustain the right to education for all, as education will certainly facilitate our nation’s economic, social, cultural and political development. Our conviction here is that respect for human rights and the rule of law coupled with strong and accountable institutions will strengthen our democracy and enhance the full enjoyment of its benefits.
Hosting the flagship of human rights in the African continent, The Gambia is grateful for the confidence and commitment of the African Commission, and a Government that has totally recognised its mandate.
The Banjul Charter continues to be a living testimony to The Gambia’s historic and traditional commitment to the principles and core values of human rights and development. You will agree that New Gambia is no less committed to Human Rights than the Founding Fathers of this great nation.
Since its inauguration last January, this new Government has set free hundreds of prisoners and signed several International Treaties and Protocols including the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Abolition of the Death Penalty and the Convention against Enforced Disappearances.
A new Constitution steeped in the respect for human rights and a Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission are in the final stages of development. These concrete steps designed to strengthen human rights and facilitate national development are further aided by the creation of a legal, political and social architecture aligned with the highest standards of human rights, freedom and justice.
Our Government has produced a holistic National Development Plan as a blueprint for the advancement and mainstreaming of human rights across all sectors of Government particularly in the security, justice, health and education sectors.
It is my belief that our graduates here today can and will assist in this process as the New Gambia grows and develops into a vibrant and sustainable democracy.
It is no doubt, it is an exciting and interesting time to live and work in this nation. With new freedoms and levels of peace and stability ushered in by our new Government, Gambians and residents in The Gambia will experience the unprecedented full enjoyment of fundamental human rights.

Through the interdependence of rights, education and development, I am convinced that our students can and will assist government in progressive processes that will not only align The Gambia with international best practices in human rights, but also re-claim our nation’s traditional position as champion for values that were first codified in the Banjul Charter.
The Gambia, until recently, has been recognised as a haven of peace, human rights, justice and democracy within the continent.
I therefore challenge, with sincere hope, gratitude and anticipation, all Gambians including the graduates here today to pursue our basic human right with dignity, equality, freedom, peace and stability for the sake of our common progress and prosperity.
To the graduates, Today is your day!!
You have every reason to feel proud of yourselves, and to celebrate your well-earned success.
As you can tell from the reaction of all of us who have come to support you this morning, we are extremely happy that you are now ready to join the world of work which is very different from your life as a student. You will need to keep your integrity and humility.
As Ambassadors of University of The Gambia, you need to remember that the three things that can make you a man or woman and which will differentiate between success and failure in life are your hard work, sincerity and commitment.
Remember that three things that may never be lost on you are peace, hope and honesty. Make the best use of your time and opportunities that come your way.
Always remember that in the real world, you should always expect the best, prepare for the worst, capitalize on every opportunity and always cultivate and maintain a positive mindset.
In conclusion, let me also emphasize that the degree you have earned is not a badge of exclusiveness, nor is it something that should create in you a superiority complex. Remember that you are and will still be part and parcel of society.
As a matter of fact your graduation has created a new obligation for each of you - an obligation to prepare to give back to society some of the privileges that society had bestowed on you and what you have derived from higher education.
Once again, on behalf of New Gambia and on my own behalf, I congratulate you and wish you every success in your future endeavours.

I thank you all for your kind attention.

A clear concience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone


9180 Posts

Posted - 16 Jan 2018 :  15:37:14  Show Profile Send Momodou a Private Message  Reply with Quote
UTG confers honourary degrees on president Barrow, Jawara

The Point: Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The University of The Gambia has conferred an honourary degrees on President Adama Barrow and Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara, the country’s first president in its 10th Convocation ceremony held on Monday at the Independence Stadium.

President Barrow was awarded Doctorate Degree in Human Rights, while President Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara was awarded the same Doctorate Degree in Law and Human Rights Studies by the University of The Gambia.

President Jawara’s award was received on his behalf by Omar Jallow alias O.J. the minister for Agriculture.

In his maiden address as the chancellor of the University of The Gambia President Barrow began by congratulating the graduating students in what he described as “special”.

“I’d like to congratulate you and your families on this special day. Convocation is important because it marks the end of one stage and the beginning of another,” he said. “It is an important occasion for the society as it expects a lot from you.”

The new chancellor was quick to remind the students of their responsibilities and the expectations as graduates. The convocation ceremony he said is not only a day for celebration but also a day for reflection.

He urged the students to bear few things in mind as they were about to enter into another phase of life. “Always keep your integrity and humility. As ambassadors, be hardworking, exercise sincerity and commitment, peace, hope and honesty”.

The president reaffirmed his commitment to public needs and the promotion of human rights and education. “My government renews its determination on fundamental human rights, equity and equality. The promotion of human rights is my government’s priority” Chancellor Barrow said.

President Barrow said Gambians and non Gambians will continue to enjoy their rights and freedoms and the Banjul Chattered is a living testimony to that. He said a clear manifestation of his commitment to human rights is the releasing of prisoners, signing treaty which promotes human rights, efforts to remove the death penalty and to avoid disappearance and a better new constitution.

He urged the graduates to support in the process of making The Gambia a democratic country.

A clear concience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone
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9180 Posts

Posted - 24 Jan 2018 :  15:12:53  Show Profile Send Momodou a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Building The New Gambia

by Madi Jobarteh

To Keep or Return the UTG Honorary Degree? That is the Question for Barrow

On 15 January 2018 the University of the Gambia conferred on Pres. Adama Barrow an honorary degree for human rights. Pres. Barrow is the Chancellor of UTG as per Section 7 of UTG Act. The provision went further to state that the Chancellor is only a ceremonial head with no executive powers on matters of the university.

In view of Section 7 therefore, there is an element of conflict of interest when that university decides to confer such an award on the sitting president who is the Chancellor. Being a Chancellor makes the president part of the university community as per Section 6 UTG Act. Therefore why would such a university give such an honor to one of its own especially when there has been no sterling achievement by that recipient? What is even more concerning therefore is when the UTG decided to associate that degree with human rights.

In the world of human rights, states have two forms of obligations to protect and fulfill human rights, i.e. negative and positive obligations. A negative obligation is when a state refrains from doing anything to limit or damage rights but to let citizens enjoy their rights. Negative obligation bears no cost to the state because it means a state does not have to do anything.

A positive obligation on the other hand is where the state must do something to ensure the effective protection and fulfillment of human rights. This means to create the necessary laws, policies and institutions and provide the resources and personnel for the purpose of making citizens effectively enjoy their rights in practice. Hence to determine if a government is human rights-friendly we must look at how does that government fulfill its positive obligations.

In the course of the past year we are yet to see in practice the efforts of Pres. Barrow to positively fulfill his obligations in human rights to such an extent that he would deserve an award for that. In the first place, he had said in his Manifesto that within six months of coming to power he would repeal or reform all laws that damage human rights, democracy and popular participation. It is now one year and this promise has not been fulfilled.

The same laws and institutions that were in place since Independence and made even more draconian under Yaya Jammeh continue to be firmly in place. While Barrow took several bills to parliament to change certain laws and constitutional provisions, yet he has never taken these bad laws before the National Assembly. Some of these laws contain extremely anti-democratic and anti-human rights provisions such as the Public Order Act, Criminal Code, the Information and Communications Act, the Newspaper Act or the NGO Act among others.

Furthermore we have also seen how the Police blatantly and unconstitutionally denied some citizens to protest last year. And just recently the Police went even further to ban political activity indefinitely. Apart from that, in Gunjur, Kartong and up to Kitty, a Chinese company is damaging the social, economic, cultural and environmental rights of citizens; not to mention the violation of the right to health posed by Bakoteh Dumpsite. In all these cases, Barrow has not taken a practical step to protect human rights.

Therefore the University of the Gambia must not think that the civil liberties that Gambians enjoy today are the making of Barrow. No way. The air of freedom in this country was created by the masses of Gambians when they shed off tyranny.

One can argue that Barrow therefore has a choice to infringe on those liberties but since he did not then he qualifies for a human rights award. Such an argument would be a misunderstanding of the function of a president and government and misconception about human rights. Just because Yaya Jammeh trampled upon human rights does not mean therefore if Barrow did not do the same therefore Barrow is more human rights-friendly.

The human rights-friendliness of a leader is not merely to refrain from damaging human rights, i.e. upholding one’s negative obligations. Rather being human rights-friendly is when you take practical measures to protect and then expand rights so that citizens enjoy them better. Thus so long as Barrow leaves those anti-human rights laws and those state institutions intact then he is not promoting human rights in the Gambia.

We must bear in mind that so long as these bad laws remain alive and these notorious institutions remain intact with the same leadership and personnel then the threat to human rights is therefore also alive. Thus to convince us that Barrow means well when he spoke in favour of human rights, Barrow has to be seen taking practical steps to repeal bad laws and create human rights friendly laws. He has to be seen to revamp notorious institutions to create new ones with personnel who were not part of the violations perpetrated in those old institutions. Words must match actions.

Secondly Barrow must know that the teaching and learning environment at UTG campuses are deplorable while the efficiency, transparency and accountability of the management is in question. In March 2017 the UTG Staff Association protested at the purchase of six vehicles by the Senior Management Team for 8 million dalasi when basic facilities, services, tools and general conditions at Brikama Campus are poor. Until today Brikama Campus, which serves as a major learning centre for UTG, is in more deplorable state than any slum in Africa!

In view of such state of affairs, Barrow should have taken a moral high ground to demand, as Chancellor and President of the Republic, that the leadership of UTG must first put its house in order. In that way he would be seen to stand against mediocrity and corruption within UTG in favour of excellence, efficiency and accountability in our foremost learning centre. But by accepting this award, Barrow has therefore further validated the UTG leadership and management when he should have called them to account for the state of affairs in the university.

One would have expected that the interest of students as well as standards and quality of learning, teaching and living at UTG would be the topmost priority for Pres. Barrow. But with this award, should we be worried that UTG has therefore bought Barrow in yet another case of political patronage that we have seen perpetrated by this new government so far?

The conditions of service and the working environment at UTG are unacceptable. No chancellor must take such an award from such a university. Barrow must not allow elites and sycophants to take advantage of him by showering accolades on him when the fundamentals in our institutions are in dire straits. Since its inception, UTG cannot even have a permanently designated venue for its convocation, which is unbecoming of a university especially when it is the only university of the country!

For the Gambia, Our Homeland

A clear concience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone
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