UTG Student Petitions Lecturer for Alleged Rights Violations

A first year second semester student at the University of the Gambia, has petitioned a lecturer of the University to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) for allegedly violating his rights during the course of the school public holidays marking the end of the Ramadan and in observant of the Eid alFitr (Koriteh).

Below is the full text of his letter to NHRC, the Gambia

Dear Sir,

CLAIM OF RIGHT VIOLATION

I Mustapha Ceesay, a first year, second semester student at the University of The Gambia (UTG) hereby lodge this complaint of willfully violation of my right by one  of my lecturers at the said university.

The said incident happened on 14th May 2021 between 8:0010:30am.

The University on 11th May 2021 informed as below:“UTG Eid Holidays Notice(12 to 17 of May)

Dear Colleagues,

At the instance of the Vice Chancellor, we are pleased to inform you that the University will go on a break, with effect from Wednesday, the 12th of May 2021.

This is in observance of the Muslim feast of Eid alFitr (Koriteh). The University will resume normal operations on Monday, the 17 of May 2021.

The Management wishes you a blessed celebration.

The above referred to asUTG Eid Holidays Notice simple translates that the institute will go on a break from 12 to 17 May 2021 for the observance of the Muslim feast of Eid alFitr (Koriteh). During the period it will conduct no operations but will resume normal operations on Monday, the 17 of May 2021. This means that operations of the university including teaching and learning should not hold between the specified periods.

The notice has been widely shared on the UTGSU WhatsApp page where I knew that there will be no lectures from 12 to 16 May 2021, likewise many.

Contrary to the notice, Dr. Charles Mendy, lecturer for the French 102 course on 14 May 2021wilfully held French 102 lecture online without my notice from 8:0010:30am knowing fully well that the University informed its staff and students that will it is on Eid break until 17 May and less than a quarter of the registered students were present.

From the evidence I gathered from the WhatsApp page on the exchange among some of my colleague students who were online at the time, when the class representative, Bakary Sillah invited the class to join a video meeting on Google Meet using https://meet.google.com/ghxsdxohqkand further wrote on the platform, “Dr. is in” meaning the lecturer is in class for the lecture; another colleague replied, “What for? Pls remind Dr of the break”; then the class representative tagged the UTG notice previously sent to the platform and responded, “he [referring to Dr. Mendy] said the break is for the management”, contrary to the content of the notice.

 Thereon, Mendy held the lecture to the end without regard for the UTG notice and the Eid celebrations I and other colleagues absent were engaged in because the UTG granted us the permission.

Evidence on the platform also revealed that during the lecture, he had slated 21 May for a test and gave guidelines to those present. And further held another lecture in the afternoon to the disadvantage of many more.

Given the fact that the University has announced that it will not conduct operations from 12thto 16thMay for the observance of the Eid, Mendy holding a lecture has:

1.Violated the UTG announcement

2.Violated my fundamental right to freedom of conscience; association; assembly, and movement guaranteed under Section 25, subsections 1b, and c of the 1997 Constitution.

3. Discriminated against my freedom to practice any religion and to manifest such practice as guaranteed by Section 25, subsection c of the 1997 Constitution.

Therefore, I seek for redress from this commission created by an Act of Parliament to

1.Instruct Dr. Charles Mendy to postpone the French 102 test slated for Friday 21 May to Friday 28thMay 2021 because I have missed the t lecture before, during which vital information such as test guideline and other issues relevant have been discussed.

2. Instruct Dr. Charles Mendy to repeat the said lecture delivered on Friday on 14thMay on Friday 21May to give me the opportunity to benefit from whatever is discussed.

3. Instruct Dr.Charles Mendy to grant me a public apology for willfully violating the said constitutionally given right of mine, and

4. Instruct Dr. Charles Mendy to apologise for giving false information that the break announced by the UTG is for the management only.

In addition, the action of Mendy has further violated my right to liberty and freedom guaranteed under articles 8 and 10 (1) of the African Charter on Human and People’s Right.

Article 8, states that freedom of conscience, the profession and free practice of religion shall be guaranteed. No one may, subject to law and order, be submitted to measures restricting the exercise of these freedoms; and article 10(1) states that every individual shall have the right to free association provided that he abides by the law.

In conclusion, it is my considered view that Mendy willfully violated my right to practice my religionIslam and to manifest such practice as guaranteed under Section 25, subsection c of the 1997 Constitution and articles8and 10 (1) of the African Charter on Human and People’s Right by holding a lecture in a period [12th17thMay 2021]designated for the observance of the Eid celebrations as contained in the UTG notice; contrary to the referred clause of the 1997 Constitution of the Republic of The Gambia.

To that effect, as per the 1997 Constitution clause which encourages an aggrieved party to seek redress and Article 7,1, of the African Charter on Human and People’s Right which states that every individual shall have the right to have his cause heard, including the right to an appeal to competent national organs against acts of violating his fundamental rights as recognized and guaranteed by conventions, laws, regulations and customs in force;I file this formal complaint before the National Human Rights Commission as a national organ under whose purview addressing such subjects falls.

Disclaimer:This complaint is NOT Islam vs. Christianity but Mustapha Ceesay vs. Dr. Charles Mendy in the context of rights violation as per the 1997 Constitution and The African Charter On Human and People’s Rights.

Mustapha Ceesay (complainant)

Sincerely,

Signed, Mustapha Ceesay,

Tel: 3689396

Email: mc22113078@utg.edu.gm

Cc: UTG Admin,

Director of student’s affairs,

School of Arts & Sciences,

UTGSU,

SoShSA,

 

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