Gambian Lawmakers approve OIC-proposed intl Orphans Day

National Assembly

Lawmakers of Gambia have overwhelmingly voted for a motion seeking the recognition and commemoration of the 15 day of Ramadan as Orphans’ Day in the member states of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.

The lawmakers held an extra-ordinary session today to declare 15th day of Ramadan as Orphan’s Day in Gambia as recommended by the OIC for it member states and international humanitarian organizations.

The OIC in June appealed to all its member states and humanitarian organizations to undertake all kinds of relevant actions to raise awareness on the issues of orphans and their needs, on the occasion of the Orphan’s Day in the Islamic World, which was set for the 15th of Ramadan, after a resolution was passed in Conakry in 2013.

Gambia’s foreign minister, Neneh MacDouall – Gaye, who tabled the bill before lawmakers said the plight of orphans is of great concern to the governments of the member countries of OIC.

“The issue and plight of Orphans, worldwide, and with particular emphasis on the plight of Orphans in the Islamic Ummah is a matter of great concern to individuals, Governments, the international community and humanitarian organizations and our great leaders of the Islamic Ummah…,” foreign minister Gaye said.

Gambia’s foreign minister also revealed that the OIC has recently written to all its member states reminding them of the need to approve and recognize the day.

She emphasized that Gambia “has paid particular attention to the vulnerability of orphans locally as well as in other OIC member states”.

The OIC launched a special programme for the welfare and protection of orphans, after the catastrophic Tsunami that hit Indonesia and a number of other states.

But Neneh MacDouall – Gaye said the needs of orphans in the Islamic world struck by disasters are immense and the “responses still remain inadequate”.

The Gambian lawmakers unanimously welcomed the motion describing it as “timely” and “relevant”

“In 2003, The Gambia social welfare department has done a survey which revealed that about 65, 000 orphans and vulnerable children are in Gambia and I am sure that figure have increased by now,”  the country’s deputy speaker, Fatou Mbaye, said as she spoke on the relevance of the day.

Gambia is preparing to host the OIC summit in 2018.

OIC is the second largest inter-governmental organization after the United Nations which has membership of 57 states spread over four continents and its motive is to safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony.

Islamic State

Samba Jallow

Samba Jallow, the minority leader 

Meanwhile the minority leader, Samba Jallow has criticized his colleagues on the assembly floor and the foreign minister for calling the country as an “Islamic State” while tabling a motion seeking for the recognition and commemoration of the Orphans’ Day.

Samba Jallow, the opposition NRP member in the lawmaking body, urged his colleagues to either pass the motion with reservation or clear out areas where the country is referred to as an Islamic State.

“Gambia is not an Islamic Republic and that should not be in a motion paper for it to be discussed by the lawmakers… Legally, Gambia is not an Islamic State,” he said.

“I will urge my colleagues to take out anywhere Gambia is being referred to as an Islamic Republic or we pass it with a reservation.”

Both Seedy Njie and Abdoulie Saine said the minority leader’s request was out of order, since the issue on the floor was about the orphans’ day and not the Islamic State declaration.

And though Samba Jallow insisted, the deputy speaker who chaired the session has asked him to limit himself to the issue on the floor, which was declaring 15 day of Ramadan as an orphan day.

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