L-R: Hon: Ousman Touray, Sainey Touray, Ousman Sillah, Fakebba Colley and Mr. Landing Jobe (Secretary)

The Gambia is one of the four African countries that have been elected to serve in the 12 nation Executive Committee of the Parliamentary Union of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) member countries at the recently concluded PUIC Conference held in Rabat, Morocco from the 11 – 14 March, 2019.

A five person parliamentary delegation left Banjul last weekend to attend this 14th Session of the Parliamentary Union of the OIC member states (PUIC) Conference and related meeting.

The delegation comprised Hons. Fakebba Colley, Ousman Touray, Sainey Touray (Head of the delegation), Ousman Sillah and Mr. Landing Jobe, Director of Committees at the National Assembly, who served as the Secretary.

Hon. Ousman Sillah was selected to represent The Gambia in the Executive Committee of the PUIC for the period 2019- 2020.

According to the delegation, The Gambia, which is an outgoing Member of the Standing Specialised Committee of Political Affairs and Foreign Relation Standing of the PUIC, had presented during its meeting a resolution recommending for “the formation of a high level inter-governmental working committee on migration comprising countries of origin, transit and destination of the irregular migrants to be tasked with the mandate of identifying and addressing challenges to protect the rights of irregular migrants in their settlement, voluntary return and integration.”

The delegation also proposed for a change of the phrase “illegal immigrant” to “irregular migrants” as indicated in the document which was accepted.

The Gambia will be represented in the PUIC General Committee for 2019 – 2020 by Honourable Fakebba N. L. Colley and Honourable Ousman Touray.

In the final Rabat Declaration, the Parliamentarians, among other commitments, stressed the “importance of democracy and the institution- based State in the process of development and safeguarding human rights and guaranteeing their respect, and emphasising the role of PUIC member country Parliaments in consolidating such rights and facilitating people’s participation in such a way as to ensure stability and social cohesion, and building people’s trust in the institutions of their respective countries, by allowing them to take ownership of the building process through involving them in the decision-making and governance of public policies, through their elected representatives.”

The delegates further stated in the Declaration that “True Islamic religion calls for tolerance, co-existence and dialogue, in any interaction with the Other, we, by virtue of being the representatives of the legislative branches in our respective countries, and in view of the standing our institutions enjoy, we express our firm intention to enhance this approach and to foster dialogue with the representatives of the other revealed faiths and other civilisations, such as would guarantee co-existence, stability, peace, and security.”

In a separate development, the Gambian delegation on Friday, 15 March, paid a courtesy call on Hon. Habib El Maliki, Speaker of the Moroccan House of Representatives, to discuss the strengthening of relations between the legislators of the two countries. During their close door meeting, both the Moroccan Speaker of Parliament and the Gambian delegation acknowledged the already existing good relations between the two peoples and countries and agreed to commence the process of establishing the Gambia-Morocco Parliamentary Friendship Association to facilitate exchange or study visits by members of the two legislatures and cooperation in areas of mutual benefit.

The 15th PUIC Conference will be held in early 2019 in Burkina Faso at a date to be determined later by the host while Uganda has offered to host the next Executive Committee meeting of the PUIC later this year.

The delegation returned to the Gambia on Saturday.

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