We, participants at the Forum on the Participation of NGOs in the 46th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples‘ Rights,
Considering of the provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights in particular Article 9(1)(2) on freedom of expression and opinion;
Emphasizing provisions of Articles 10 and 11 of the African Charter for Human and Peoples’ Rights on the right to associate freely and to demonstrate in peace;
Condemning the ongoing grave human rights violations human rights defenders are exposed to since the 2006 Coup d’état;
Recalling the recent statements made by government’s officials against human rights defenders and their activities in The Gambia;
Recalling that such declarations are contrary to the agreements between the African Union and the Republic of the Gambia on the establishment of the Secretariat of the African Commission in Banjul;
Bearing in mind that the constitution of the second republic of The Gambia outlines freedom of expression, freedom of the media and freedom of the press;
Bearing in mind the African Commission Resolution….on The Gambia,
The Forum calls on the African Commission for Human and Peoples’ Rights to:
1. Conduct a fact finding mission in order to investigate human rights abuse committed in Gambia,
2. Ensure that all prisoners of conscience in Gambia are freed without conditions, and that those detained incommunicado or in illegal and secret prisons are also freed if they are not charged immediately with a recognizably criminal offence and that those charged benefit from a fair trial.
3. Ensure that The Gambia’s constitution reflects its African Charter obligations and that these are respected, especially with regards to the prohibition against torture, the right to a fair trial as well as freedom of expression, of the press and of association.
4. Ensure that the Government of The Gambia upholds its obligations under the African Charter by ending coercions against the media and making sure freedom of expression is guaranteed.
5. Take appropriate measures to ensure that human rights defenders undertake their activities in The Gambia freely and are protected by national laws as provided the Grand Bay 1998 and Kigali 2003 Declarations, as well as Article 12 subsections (2) and (3) of the 1998 United Nations Human Rights Defenders Declaration.
6. Calls on the Gambian government to take steps to rehabilitate victims of all human rights violations and rectify the situation;
7. Evaluate the possibility of removing the Headquarters of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ rights from Banjul to a country where human rights environment is conducive for the protection and promotion of peoples’ rights.
Done at Banjul, November 9th, 2009