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African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights

Press Statement on the Death Penalty in The Gambia

The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Commission) is concerned by recent comments allegedly made by the President of the Republic of The Gambia, His Excellency Dr. Yahya A.J.J Jammeh, that people sentenced to death in the Gambia will be executed in September 2012.   

The Commission is particularly concerned that, if this information is accurate, these executions will constitute a violation of the provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Charter), specifically Article 4 which states that human beings are inviolable, with every human being entitled to respect for his life and the integrity of his person, and Article 5 which guarantees the right to respect of the dignity inherent in a human being.

The African Commission has consistently encouraged the abolition of the death penalty in Africa. In Resolutions ACHPR/Res.42(XXVI)99 and ACHPR/Res.136(XXXXIIII)08 the African Commission urged State Parties to the African Charter that retain the death penalty to consider establishing a moratorium on execution of the death penalty, with a view to abolishing this practice.

While the Commissions notes with satisfaction that The Gambia has observed moratorium since 1981, the Commission nevertheless calls on The Government of the Gambia to ensure that  it complies with its obligation under the African Charter by refraining from the use of death penalty and to continue to observe a moratorium pending the eventual abolition of death penalty.


Banjul, The Gambia, 24 August 2012