Defending human rights in Gambia
WhenWednesday 16 July 2014
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Committee Room 18, House of Commons,London
President Jammeh’s 20th Anniversary in Power in The Gambia: Something to Celebrate?
The All-Party Parliamentary Human Rights Group (PHRG) invites you to a panel discussion in support of civil society and human rights defenders in The Gambia
- Dr. Amadou Scattred Janneh – Gambian former political prisoner and author
- Paul Dillane – Amnesty International
- Jim Boumelha – president, International Federation of Journalists
- Chair: Katy Clark MP
At this meeting, we will hear about the human rights situation in the Gambia, including from Gambian activists, and consider how the international community can support Gambian civil society, whether still within the Gambia or in exile, to help bring an end to serious and systematic violations.
For further information, or to RSVP, please contact the PHRG Co-ordinator, Nicole Piché, at email@example.com
The Gambia is Africa’s smallest country and very poor, with over a third of its population living on less than $1.25 a day.
President Jammeh, a US-trained former army officer whose official title is “His Excellency Sheikh Professor Doctor President”, came to power in a coup in 1994, after which he won four successive elections.
Despite the country having the trappings of democracy, and some improvements having been made in literacy and infrastructure, President Jammeh has stayed in power for 20 years by instilling fear and using overt political patronage.
Journalists and political opponents continue to be targeted. Gambians can be jailed without charge simply for questioning President Jammeh’s declaration that he intends to rule for a “billion” years and for distributing T-shirts without official permission. Secret police are allegedly disguised as everything from gigolos to street hawkers to keep tabs on the population, and even dissidents in the UK fear they are being monitored. Institutional corruption and bribery are also commonplace.
In addition, President Jammeh’s regime appears to be trying to insulate itself from the international community, by pulling out of the Commonwealth – after railing about its neo-colonial agenda – and pouring scorn on the West at the UN General Assembly last year - in response to calls for reform.
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