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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In Ghana, Esther Tawiah is one of the loudest voices for women empowerment and gender. It is also why she is one of the most loathed. Born and raised in New-Tafo in the country’s eastern region, Esther grew up surrounded by a culture that frowned at the idea of women participating in public affairs, and witnessed firsthand, the backlash those who dared to challenge that cultural norm faced.

“I grew up in a society where ageism and sexism were so entrenched. As a young person, you weren’t supposed to give your opinion on public issues, especially if you were a woman. Women who dared to speak up were caricatured and branded as frustrated, unmarriageable prostitutes, all designed to shut them up,” she says.

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