Monday, July 22, 2024

ACHPR says Gambia has not complied with its reporting obligations in the past two decades

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By Alhagie Jobe

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The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) has revealed that for the past two decades, the government of The Gambia has not complied with its reporting obligations under Article 62 and has more than 10 reports outstanding to the ACHPR.


The report added that The government continues to resist promotional and fact finding missions requested by the ACHPR despite the fact that it hosts the ACHPR.


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This damning revelation was contained in a context document released Friday at the opening of the 59th ACHPR Session and 28th Ordinary Session of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child underway at the Kairaba Beach Hotel presided over by Gambia’s Justice Minister Mama Fatima Singhateh.


Under the theme: ‘Women’s Rights – Our Collective Responsibility’, the session which is a culmination of celebrations marking ‘the year of human rights, with special focus on the rights of women’, brings together commissioners from the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, Foreign Ministers from Member States, dignitaries from various organs of the African Union, the African Court, state delegates, National Human Rights Institutions and Non Governmental Organizations.


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According to the ACHPR, as The Gambia host the 59th Session of the ACHPR and the celebration of the Year of Human Rights with a focus on women, it is time to stop ignoring the violations taking place in our faces.


The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights further highlighted that it has over the past years raised concerns over The Gambia government’s continued violations of human rights and its lack of respect for the rule of law and due process and has documented these concerns in press releases, resolutions, and in the special mechanisms reports all of which have been ignored by The Gambia government, acting with total impunity.


“The ACHPR and all AU organs must seize this context to address the poor human rights record of The Gambia by calling on President Jammeh and his government to release all political detainees and to refrain from further abuses in advance of the December Presidential elections. The ACHPR should consider a follow up to its Resolutions especially Res: 299 and conduct a fact finding mission ahead of the elections” it noted.


Meanwhile, ACHPR also noted that Gambia’s already troubling human rights situation has deteriorated further in advance of the election.


“It started with the death of opposition activists Solo Sandeng in April 2016 whiles in custody. Then it was followed by the arrests of more than 90 opposition members. 30 of them arrested were sentenced to three (3) years for taking part in peaceful protests. Many protesters have reported like Sandeng that they were severely beaten while in detention. Women protesters were sexually assaulted suffering untold indignation” it stated.


Meanwhile, on the sidelines of the sessions, human rights organizations including Article 19, Human Rights Watch and others are discussing the issue of crackdown on freedom of expression and assembly ahead of the Presidential election.


On December 1st, Gambians will go to the polls to vote for a president for the fifth time since current ruler Yahya Jammeh came to power in a 1994 coup.





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