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British High Commission Awards Give Peace A Chance Competition Winners

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British High Commissioner and the students

The British High Commission hosted an awards ceremony for school children involved in the Give Peace a Chance competition.
Give Peace a Chance involved secondary school pupils from seven regions across the country using prose, poetry or painting to depict their visions and hopes for an inclusive and peaceful country and the role that they can play in this process. All in all, 63 submissions were received across the competition’s 3 categories.
The competition was implemented by the Gambian Teachers Union as part of the Freedom of Religion or Belief Leadership Network’s activities in the Gambia. FoRBLN is a 3 year project (2020-2023) funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.
Speaking at the awards ceremony, the British High Commissioner, David Belgrave (OBE,) said:
“Freedom of religion belief is a fundamental human right. I applaud the people of the The Gambia and its institutions for the example they have set in promoting freedom of religious belief and human rights. I especially commend all those involved in the Give Peace a Chance initiative, the Gambian Teachers Union, faith leaders and parliamentarians and congratulate all the young people who have participated, especially the winners represented here today. The support of young people for human rights is essential to The Gambia’s democratic peaceful future”.
Marie Antoinette Corr, the General Secretary of the Gambian Teachers Union, said: “Give Peace a Chance has empowered young people to express how they can be agents for development and peace in their own communities. It has also proved to be a creative vehicle through which parliamentarians and faith and belief leaders have collaborated to advance human rights education in schools. I’m delighted that the Gambian Teachers Union has been involved in this project and I have every hope that this partnership will continue in the future.”
Give Peace a Chance ran from 30 September to 10 November 2022, with the 21 regional and 9 national winners announced on 10 December 2022. It was proceeded by a series of seminars and workshops on human rights and freedom of religion or belief, sensitising teachers and others involved in human rights education.
Give Peace a Chance emerged from a series of discussions facilitated by the Gambian Teachers Union involving parliamentarians, representatives from the Ministry of Education and faith and belief leaders from the Gambian Christian Council and the Supreme Islamic Council.
FoRBLN is a consortium led project that works with parliamentarians and belief leaders in 4 countries (Bangladesh, The Gambia, Pakistan and Sierra Leone) to address the legislative barriers to freedom of religion or belief and the social mores that support societal hostility towards groups and individuals on account of their religion or belief.
On 3 December 2022, FoRBLN launched a parliamentary caucus on Freedom of Religion or Belief at the Gambian Teachers Union with the assistance of FoRBLN partner the African Centre for Parliamentary Affairs and the British High Commission.

FoRBLN takes as its starting point the principles set out in Article 18 of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights (UNDHR) on the right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief. These rights are commonly referred to as the right to freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) and are a right of every human being everywhere.
The overall aim of FoRBLN is to see an increase in the number of people understanding and accessing their right to freedom of religion or belief. The network seeks ways to reduce discrimination against individuals on the grounds of their religion or belief.

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