The Gambia Bar Association, Prison Services and National Agency for Legal Aid have signed a memorandum of understanding on Friday to provide free legal services to detainees at Mile 2, Jeshwang and Janjanbureh prisons.
The MOU details the commitment of the Prisons Service, NALA and GBA to provide pro bono services to detainees held at Mile 2, Jeswang and Janjanbureh Prisons.
While United Nations Development Programme will support the establishment offices within the prisons, NALA and GBA have committed to providing free legal services for prisoners on remand, juveniles in detention and those accused of serious crimes.
“Detainees are human beings who deserve to be respected just as any other individual,” said Ansumana Manneh of prison services.
The UNDP deputy resident representative, Ms. Nessie Golakai-Gould, emphasized the importance of ensuring that “those that need justice have access to justice that is affordable and accessible.”
Speaking on the role of the Gambia Bar Association, President Salieu Taal that, “it is important we understand our role in society and our role in ensuring we protect the rights of all citizens.”
“With this MOU we will have unfettered access to our clients in prison for proper, effective, and quality consultations that will help them through the court system,” said Kemo Ceesay, executive secretary of the National Agency for Legal Aid (NALA).
The MOU was signed at UN building at Cape Point.
The MOU was signed in the presence of the chairwoman of NALA Ms. Neneh Cham, the UNDP deputy resident representative, Ms. Nessie Golakai-Gould, the commissioner of administration for the Gambia Prisons Service, Mr. Kalilu Jatta, and the UNDP chief technical advisor for rule of law, Ms. Shahzada Ahmad.