GAMBIA SUBJECTS ITSELF TO UN SCRUTINY

Recent developments in Burkina Faso are quite interesting. It is clear that the military leadership keeps changing its position day by day. At first it indicated that it will assume leadership during the transition period. Now it is dancing to the tune of AU and ECOWAS. No nation wants to be isolated.

The same applies to The Gambia that has subjected itself to the universal periodic review of the UN Human Rights Council and two UN special rapporteurs. By signing the UN Charter and other UN treaties The Gambia has expressed its wish to be part of the comity of nations. In short, The Gambia has acknowledged, whether willingly or not, to observe or to be seen to be observing its international obligations, including human rights obligations.

The fact that The Gambia invited the UN special rapporteurs on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, and on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, is clear testimony that The Gambia has agreed to subject itself to UN scrutiny of its human rights record. A UN press release reveals that the team will examine the current level of protection of the right to life in law and in practice. There will be 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.

The team will also 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.

At the end of their visit the special rapporteurs will share their findings at a press conference. We await the findings of the rapporteurs and the subsequent reaction of the Government of The Gambia.