UN experts on torture and summary executions to visit Gambia

30 Oct

Globe LogoTwo UN Special Rapporteurs will carry out the first official visit ever to The Gambia by experts of the Human Rights Council Special Procedures, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) announced today.

The UN Special Rapporteurs on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns, and on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Juan Méndez, will visit the country from 3 to 7 November 2014, at the invitation of the Government.

In August, Heyens and Méndez said they were disappointed at the “unilateral decision” taken by the Government of The Gambia to postpone their country visit of 18 August 2014.

“I will examine the current level of protection of the right to life in law and in practice in the country,” Mr. Heyns said of upcoming visit. “An essential aspect of my visit will focus on the current situation of violence, in particular the level of unlawful killings and death threats by any actor, as well as the efforts to prevent them and ensure justice and accountability in such cases.” Continue reading

The Gambia’s human rights under scrutiny: Rights groups raise concerns

28 Oct
Thumbs Down: Rights groups say human rights situation in Gambia “shrinking" (Photo Credit: MSJoof/TNBES/FPI)

Thumbs Down: Rights groups say human rights situation in Gambia “shrinking” (Photo Credit: MSJoof/TNBES/FPI)

By Modou S. Joof

The press freedom and free expression advocacy agency, ARTICLE 19, has raised concerns at Gambia’s “shrinking” human rights record Tuesday.

The Gambia, a small West African country which is no stranger to criticisms over rights abuses by human rights groups, opposition parties and journalists, is today (October 28, 2014) appearing before UN Human Rights Council for its Universal Periodic Review (UPR).

A statement from the multinational rights group says it calls for concerted regional and international efforts to “stop the violent repression against free voices and end impunity.” Continue reading

5 Reasons Why Jammeh Should Not Celebrate 22nd July

13 Oct

22nd July is seen by many as the most important date on the calendar of Gambians. It is almost a household name in the country thanks to the “remarkable efforts” of the AFPRC and now APRC and its allies. On that fateful day, two decades ago, former President, Dawda Kairaba Jawara was deposed in what has been described as a “bloodless coup”. Jawara’s overthrow was masterminded by a group of soldiers led by then Lieutenant Yahya AJJ Jammeh.

They identified themselves as the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council (AFPRC) and Jammeh, 29 then, was the chairman of the AFPRC. As usual for putsches, the constitution was suspended, the borders sealed and a curfew implemented. While Jammeh’s new government justified the coup by decrying corruption and lack of democracy under the Jawara regime, army personnel had also been dissatisfied with their salaries, living conditions and prospects for promotion.

The coup did not receive much resistance from home but attracted international condemnation. But twenty years on, Demba Kandeh tells us why the coup should not be celebrated.

Jawara (R) and Jammeh (L) former and current president respectively
Jawara (R) and Jammeh (L) former and current president

President Jammeh has always likened his overthrow to a revolution; in fact, there are no 22nd July coup celebrations. What the soldier turned civilian president celebrates is the “22nd July Revolution” but what is the difference?

First and foremost, Jammeh should know that celebrating a coup sends a wrong signal. This is probably why the country has registered the highest number of reportedly foiled coups (not less five) during the twenty years under Jammeh as compared to only one under Jawara who was president for almost thirty years. It is time the putsches learn their lessons and understand that bloodless or not, a coup is a coup and is not worth celebrating at all.

 

Continue reading

Q & A: FPI’s Demba Kandeh speaks on his detention ordeal

21 Jul
Demba Kandeh, The Gambia-based contributor for Global Voices Online, the publisher of The Gambia News Waves, arrived Banjul Friday, July 18 (Photo Credit: Modou S. Joof/Globe/FPI/Nov2011)

Demba Kandeh, The Gambia-based contributor for Global Voices Online, and the publisher of The Gambia News Waves, arrived Banjul Friday, July 18 (Photo Credit: Modou S. Joof/Globe/FPI/Nov2011)

He was  was detained Thursday morning, July 17 by the Gendarme  at a Malian border  “for no obvious reasons.”

Then released the same day after more than two hours, but not until the Malian border guards emptied his wallet, seized his national identity card, and conducted unnecessary searches on his digital camera and hand luggage.

 

Front Page International, FPI, Editor-In-Chief and Gambian journalist and blogger, Demba Kandeh, speaks to News Editor Modou S. Joof on his detention ordeal. Read on… Continue reading

UPDATE: Gambian journalist detained by Mali border guards released

17 Jul
Demba Kandeh, FPI Editor (Photo taken from Facebook)

Demba Kandeh, FPI Editor (Photo taken from Facebook)

Gambian journalist Demba Kandeh who was detained Thursday morning by the Gendarme  at the Malian border town of Goundam has been released.

Kandeh, who was being held “for no obvious reasons” told FPI he arrived in Senegal at 6pm.

From Senegal, Kandeh told FPI: “I was released but not until they take away all my money.” Continue reading

NEWS ALERT: Gambian journalist detained in Mali

17 Jul
Demba Kandeh, FPI Editor (Photo taken from Facebook)

Demba Kandeh, FPI Editor (Photo taken from Facebook)

Gambian journalist Demba Kandeh is being detained by the Gendarme  at the Malian border town of Goundam, FPI has gathered.

He said he is being held “for no obvious reasons”.

“I have valid travel documents and I have not been told why I am detained,” Kandeh told FPI at 8am Thursday via phone.

He was being held for more than two hours at the time, while on  on his way to Banjul.  His phone number: +22361102106 is now unreachable. Continue reading

Rights groups condemn plans for immunity of African leaders

15 May
The International Criminal Court in The Hague ...
AU’s shocking move follows strident attacks on the International Criminal Court, ICC, by some African leaders who accused it of a witch-hunt. Now, they want to give themselves immunity over the same crimes The Hague-based ICC/CPI indicted some of them for. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Modou S. Joof

African leaders through their justice ministers and attorney generals are creeping their feet towards considering a draft protocol that would give leaders immunity on grave crimes against humanity.

These justice ministers and attorney generals of the AU are scheduled to meet in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia May 15-16 to consider a draft protocol to expand the authority of the African Court on Justice and Human Rights to include criminal jurisdiction over genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.

Also, a proposal providing immunity for heads of state and senior government officials from prosecution for such crimes is being considered as part of the amended protocol.

But African human rights organisations from 19 countries and a host of international human rights organisations working in Africa have said the plan to give immunity to sitting government leaders before the Court would be a major setback for justice for grave crimes. Continue reading

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