Press Release on the Human Rights Situation in The Gambia


22 October 2009, Kampala, Uganda: The African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights wishes to draw the attention of States Parties to the African Charter on Human and  Peoples’ Rights, National Human Rights Institution, NGOs accredited to the African Commission, and all its partners that the 46th Ordinary Session of the African Commission  scheduled, to take place in Banjul, the Gambia between 11 and 25 November 2009 will be held as planned. Invitations to that effect have been issued in advance.

This Press Release is issued in the light of an African Commission’s Resolution on the Deteriorating Human Rights Situation in the Republic of the Gambia issued by the African Commission during its 7th Extra Ordinary Session held in Dakar, Senegal between 5 and 11 October 2009, which, inter alia, called on the African Union Commission to consider the possibility of funding the hosting the 46th Ordinary Session in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia or any other African Capital, or in the alternative, that security and safety guarantees for participants  to the 46th Ordinary Session be given by the government of the Republic of the Gambia to enable the 46th Ordinary Session to be held as planned.

High level consultations between the Delegation of the Government of the Republic of the Gambia constituted of the Hon. Ousman Jammeh, Minister for Foreign Affairs, The Hon. Marie Seine Firdaus, Minister for Justice and Attorney General, and the Hon. Ousman Sonko, Minister of Interior, Dr Jean Ping, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, and  Commissioner Bahame Tom Nyanduga, Acting Chairperson of the African Commission, were held in Kampala, Uganda on 20 and 21 October 2009 on the issues raised in the African Commission’s Resolution, on the margins of the African Union Special Summit on Force Displacement Issues.

The Government of the Republic of the Gambia affirmed its commitment to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and the hosting of the 46th Ordinary Session of the  African Commission as is customarily the case, with the guarantees for the safe passage, free expression and participation of all participants attending the 46th Ordinary Session, in particular with regard to the issuance of visas to participants.

The Honourable Ministers of the Republic of the Gambia urged the African Commission to contact them at any time relative to any human rights issue, or on any matter relating to the successful hosting of the session.

By Bahame Tom Mukirya Nyanduga, 22 October 2009