Ahead of the 4th December polls Amnesty International, a global movement campaigning for the protection of human rights has urged the six presidential candidates to commit themselves to a charter seeking the promotion and protection of human rights in The Gambia.
The call for candidates to publicly commit to improving the human rights situation in seven key areas once they are elected comes amidst rising political tension predominantly between the incumbent Adama Barrow of the National People’s Party (NPP) who is seeking re-election and former Vice President Ousainou Darboe of the United Democratic Party (UDP).
Amnesty International’s human rights manifesto calls for commitment in seven key areas:
- Respect, protect, promote and fulfil freedom of expression
- Respect, protect and ensure freedom of assembly
- End impunity
- End sexual, gender-based violence and discrimination towards women
- Promote economic, social, and cultural rights
- Adopt a law prohibiting torture
- Abolish the death penalty
Samira Daoud is Amnesty International’s Director for West and Central Africa, she said,
“The repressive regime of former President Yaya Jammeh was marked by mass arbitrary arrests, widespread torture, extrajudicial killings and persecution of dissenting voices.”
While the organisation believes that the situation has improved significantly under the watch of President Adama Barrow, it is of the view that next month’s election is an opportunity for The Gambia to see its human rights record improving.
As a way of facilitating that Amnesty International has called on all political parties and presidential candidates to break away from the past by making human rights top of their agenda. Urging them to prioritise and commit to the recommendations stated above and making a pledge (by signing the human rights manifesto) to deliver these commitments if elected.