Media advisory Special Rapporteur Visit

UN-independent experts on torture and summary executions to conduct first visit to Gambia

 GENEVA(30 October 2014) – Two United Nations Special Rapporteurs will carry out the first official visit ever to the Gambia by experts of the Human Rights Council Special Procedures*.

The UNSpecial Rapporteurs on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns, and on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Juan Méndez, will visit the country from 3 to 7 November 2014, at the invitation of the Government.

“I willexamine the current level of protection of the right to life in law and in practice in the country,” Mr. Heyns said. “An essential aspect of my visit will focus on the current situation of violence, in particular the level of unlawful killings and death threats by any actor, as well as the efforts to prevent them and ensure justice and accountability in such cases.”

TheSpecial Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions will further look at the legal framework and existing practices in connection to the imposition of the death penalty and assess its level of conformity with international law.

“Duringthe mission, I will assess the situation and identify challenges regarding torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in the Gambia,” the Special Rapporteur on torture said. “I will look into allegations of torture or other ill-treatment, the conditions of detention in all places where persons are deprived of their liberties, including the conditions of persons on death row.”

Mr.Méndez will also examine the national legislation and its accordance with international law, and assess the State’s compliance with the obligation to investigate, prosecute and punish all acts of torture, provide access to legal assistance upon arrest, and guarantee redress and reparation to victims.

TheSpecial Rapporteurs look forward to assist the Gambian Government in coping with some of the challenges it faces regarding these issues and in finding solutions that uphold the rule of law, promote accountability for human rights violations and fulfil the right of reparation for victims.

Duringthe five-day visit, the human rights experts will meet with high-ranking officials, as well as various UN agencies, international and localnon-governmental organizations, and civil society representatives in the Gambia. The independent experts will also visit places of detention, including prisons, police stations, interrogation centres, juvenile and women’s facilities and psychiatric institutions.

Mr. Heynsand Mr. Méndez will present their final reports on the visit to the Gambia to the UN Human Rights Council in 2015.

TheSpecial Rapporteurs will hold a press conference on 7 November 2014, at 1:30 pm, at the Conference Room of the Ocean Bay Hotel & Resort, Cape Point, Bakau, Gambia, to share their preliminary findings with the media.


(*)The United Nations human rights experts are part of what it is known as ‘Special Procedures’, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights System. ‘Special Procedures’ is the general name of the independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms of the Human Rights Council that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Currently, there are 38 thematic mandates and 14 mandates related to countries and territories, with 73 mandate holders.

 SpecialProcedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity. Learn more, log on to:

UNHuman Rights, country page – The Gambia:  

Formore information and media requests, please contact:

InBanjul: VivianHuijgen (+220 743 61 82 (mobile, until 7 November ) /

Summaryexecutions: BrendaVukovic (+41 79 109 6875 / / ) or log on to:  

Torture: Stephanie Selg (0041 79 1096874/  / or log on to:  


For mediainquiries related to other UN mandates:

XabierCelaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 /


UNHuman Rights, follow us on social media:







Checkthe Universal Human Rights Index:

Vivian Huijgen

Experte Associée en Droits de l’Homme

Bureau Régional pour l’Afrique de l’Ouest
Haut-Commissariat des Nations Unies aux droits de l’homme
+221 33 869 89 70
+221 77 332 47 26


Dates for the NGOs Forum and 56th Session of the African Commission

Dear Participant,

Following the African Centre’s email of 24th September, 2014 informing you of the postponement of the 56th Ordinary Session of the African Commission, I wish to inform you that the said Session will now be held in The Gambia (Kairaba Beach Hotel) from 1st-17th December, 2014.

Consequently, the NGOs Forum will be held from 28th-30th November, 2014 at the same venue.

Kindly re-confirm your participation in the NGOs Forum no later than Friday, 31st October, 2014 to enable us finalise administrative/logistical arrangements.

We regret any inconvenience that may have been caused by the postponement of the Session and thank you for your kind understanding.


Cher participant ,

Suite à l’ e-mail du 24 Septembre du Centre africain 2014 vous informant du report de la 56e session ordinaire de la Commission africaine , je tiens à vous informer que cette session se tiendra désormais en Gambie ( Kairaba Beach Hôtel ) de 1ère-17ème décembre 2014
En conséquence , le Forum des ONG se tiendra du 28 – 30th Novembre 2014, au même endroit.

Veuillez re- confirmer votre participation au Forum des ONG au plus tard le vendredi 31st Octobre 2014 au nous permettre de finaliser les arrangements administratifs / logistiques.

Nous regrettons tout inconvénient qui pourrait avoir été causé par le report de la session et vous remercions pour votre compréhension .