Threats and attacks on Human Rights Defenders in Gambia

EAST AND HORN OF AFRICA HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS NETWORK

Geneva: Act to end threats and attacks on HRDs in Gambia

The East and Horn of African Human Rights Defenders Project (EHAHRDP) is particularly
concerned by ongoing attacks against human rights defenders (HRDs) in the Gambia. As the statement by the West African Human Rights Defenders Network, reveals the situation has significantly deteriorated over the course of the last year.

EHAHRDP would therefore like to encourage its members and partners to react to current
threats against Gambian HRDs, most particularly journalists, by:

  • Calling on African Union leaders to condemn the comments made by the Gambian President Col. AJJ Jammeh and to call for an immediate end to the harassment, assaults, prosecution of HRDs notably in light of the Gambian government’s responsibilities under Article 9 of the African Charter of Human Rights that  guarantees freedom of expression;
  • Encouraging the delegates of the 12th Session of the UN Human Rights Council and the Council President H.E Van Meeuwen to condemn the attacks by Gambian President on HRDs and to take necessary measures notably calling on the Gambian authorities to extend a standing invitation to both the UN Special Rapporteur on HRDs and the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression;
  • Calling on relevant stakeholders to offer support- legal, political and financial – to defenders in Gambia in order to enable them to pursue their vital work.

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Human Rights Defender of the month: Kasale Maleton Mwaana

Kasale’s human rights activism precedes his years. The son of pastoralist parents from Ngorongoro district in northern Tanzania, he grew up seeing his parents and entire community having to defend their land and way of life against authorities who thought their lands could be put to better use. Now, at 25, Kasale is already one of the most recognizable advocates of his people’s cause, much to the ire of Tanzanian authorities.
“Our people’s struggle goes back many generations. It started with the pushing out of our forefathers from Serengeti to gazette Serengeti National Park in 1959, and then further evictions from the Ngorongoro crater to gazette the Ngorongoro conservation area in 1975. Since then, every generation has had to resist further evictions. It’s now my generation’s turn,” he says.

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