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African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights

Press Release on the events at Faraba Banta village, Banjul the Gambia

The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Commission) has through its Country Rapporteur for the Republic of Gambia, (the Country Rapporteur) keenly followed with concern the 18 June 2018 clashes between the Police Intervention Unit and unarmed protestors at Faraba Banta, the Gambia, which have left two protestors identified as Bakary Kujabi and Ebrima Bah dead and many others injured.

The Commission deeply regrets the loss of lives and the injuries that victims of the incident of police violence suffered; and strongly condemns the use of excessive force by the Police during the protest by the community against sand mining in the area;

Furthermore, the Commission is equally concerned with the reports that a local journalist, Pa Modou Bojang who was covering the protests was physically assaulted and later placed under 6 hours detention before being released without any charges levelled against him.

The Commission wishes to respectfully remind the Government of Gambia of its obligations under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa and Resolution 185 on the Safety of Journalists and Media Practitioners in Africa and other international human rights instruments ratified by the Gambia.

The Commission welcomes the Government of Gambia’s efforts to restore calm, law and order within Faraba Banta as well as conduct investigations into the matter; and specifically urges the Government to ensure that the investigations are thorough, prompt and impartial and that necessary measures including holding those responsible accountable, and implementing relevant reforms to prevent recurrence of police violence during assemblies are undertaken;

The Commission also urges the Government of the Republic of Gambia to provide adequate remedies including reparations to the victims; as well as resolution of the underlying factors for the protests through dialogue and the use of procedures that are in line with regional and international human rights standards;

Further, the Commission urges the citizens of the Gambia to exercise their right to freedom of assembly within the bounds of the legitimate limits set by regional and international human rights standards and without resort to acts of violence.

Commissioner Jamesina E.L. King, Commissioner Rapporteur for the Republic of The Gambia

20 June 2018