Friday, November 6, 2015

African Commission for Human and People's Right should move headquarters

Gambia's Secretary General and Minister of Presidential Affairs, Mr. Nyabally, addressed delegates of the 57th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and People's Rights (ACHPR) in Kololi where he tried, however clumsily, to link economic policy to human rights.

He cited sectoral advances in education, health, agriculture, women and youth empowerment - claims not supported by official figures of international donor community.

The quality of education has gone down; basic medicines are not available in hospitals and health centers; groundnut, rice and basic food production have declined substantially and youth unemployment is at its highest ever causing Gambia's young to vote with their feet by taking "The Back Way" to Europe via the treacherous trip across the Mediterranean that has claimed thousands of lives in the process.

The sputtering economy under the Jammeh has been losing jobs instead creating thus thus failing in its promise to the Gambian youth to provide them with decent standard of living.

In Secretary General Nyabally's desperate search for approval of the regime's repressive policies from delegates of the ACHPR cited the recent prisoner pardon as "clear manifestation of...respect and compassion for Gambians" and humankind.  Again, the Secretary General is wrong on this score as well because those "pardoned" prisoners have had their civil rights and liberties forfeited.

Released prisoners are being surveilled by the notorious National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and their movements and travel restricted by denying them travel documents, drivers license and national ID. These "pardoned" prisoners are presently in an open air prison where they are closely monitored by security agents and neighbors who work for the NIA.

Whereas Mr. Nyabally was sidestepping the hard truths about the regime's deplorable human rights record, the ACHPR appeared to have been suffering from selective amnesia by deploring the persistence of military coups, including making specific reference to last 30th December attempted coup in The Gambia, while failing to admonish the host country's repressive policies.

The Commission continues to refrain from publicly naming and shaming the Jammeh regime for its continued abuse of the human rights of Gambians who are continually being repressed, using various forms of torture, extra-judicial executions, disappearances and exiling its perceived and real opponents.  It is for these reasons we continue to call for the relocation of the Commission's headquarters from Banjul to a more deserving African capital.