Sunday, August 30, 2009

Group to push for human rights in Gambia

A civil society group, The Coalition for Human Rights in The Gambia, has been launched in the Senegalese capital of Dakar to advocate for the enforcement of human rights in The Gambia. The group was formed by Gambians living in Dakar and Senegalese and other international human rights, media and civil society groups.
Members of the coalition met with members of European missions overseeing The Gambia. The meeting was attended by representatives from the Dutch, Austrian, German, French, Spanish and Swedish Embassies. During the meeting, the coalition’s delegates showcased series of human rights violations that has been taking place in The Gambia.

The cases include the recent the incarceration of the six journalists, journalist Chief Ebrima Manneh’s continuous disappearance, arrest of villagers accused of being witches and the issue of Nigerian Mercenary Judges in the country. Documents containing various human rights abuses in The Gambia were handed out to the diplomats.

On their part, the diplomatic representatives reassured the delegation that they have been closely following events in The Gambia and promised that they would do whatever they can to put Gambia’s human rights agenda on discussion tables.

As current president of the European Union, the Swedish representative at the meeting assured the coalition that she would put forward human rights issues in The Gambia before the EU.

This meeting with the diplomatic community is part of the series of strong activities to be conducted by the coalition to mount pressure on the regime in Banjul to respect and promote the rights of Gambians, to release the jailed journalists and to respect freedom of expression and press freedom.

The group is made up of Amnesty International Senegal branch, The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), Federation of African Journalists (FAJ) Press Union, African Assembly for the Defence of Human Rights (RADDHO), Inter Africa Network for Women, Media, Gender and Development (FAMEDEV), Network of Press and Parliament in Senegal (Reppas) and Radio Alternative Voice for Gambians (AVG).


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