(JollofNews) – Amnesty International says it is deeply concerned at the ongoing trend of intimidation and reprisals against Gambians engage with UN human rights
mechanisms, including the Universal Periodic Review (UPR).
The Gambia is scheduled to be examined under the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the UN Human Rights Council on 28 October 2014 and according to Amnesty International, there is a real risk of reprisals against Gambians who seek to engage with the upcoming UPR examination for Gambia
It said human rights situation in the Gambia has deteriorated at an alarming rate since its UPR examination in 2010 and human rights defenders and journalists face attacks, and impunity for human rights violations, including those adjudicated by the ECOWAS Court of Justice, remains the norm.
It called on the UN Human Rights Council to ensure sustained attention to the human rights situation in Gambia and to actively monitor the situation so that Gambian human rights defenders are able to engage actively with UN human rights mechanisms free from intimidation and reprisals.
“No-one should face sanction for engaging with or seeking to engage with UN human rights mechanisms,” the organisation said.
“Intimidation and reprisals are a direct violation of the affected individuals’ human rights and a tactic designed to dissuade others from advocating for their rights. They are also an attack on the UN human rights system itself. It is incumbent on UN member states to be aware of recourse to intimidation and the risks of reprisals and to be prepared to take action to prevent them.”
Highlighting some of the serious cases of human rights violations by the APRC government of Yahya Jammeh, Amnesty International cited the arbitrarily execution of nine death row inmates by firing squad in 2012 and the arrest, torture and detention incommunicado of human rights defender and Muslim cleric Imam Baba Leigh as an example.
It added that this year, the Jammeh regime unilaterally postponed the visits by the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and the special rapporteur on extra-judicial, summary or arbitrary executions.
Amnesty International called on the UN Human Rights Council members and observers to use the upcoming UPR to demand accountability of the government for human rights violations.