The UN rappporteur on torture will present his final report on the
investigation on human rights abuses in The Gambia to the United
Nations (UN) Human Rights Council in March.
The Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or
degrading treatment or punishment, Juan Méndez, together with the UNSpecial Rapporteurs on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions,
Christof Heyns, visited The Gambia from 3 to 7 November 2014, at the
invitation of the Government of The Gambia.
The official mission of the two United Nations Human Rights
Rapporteurs to investigate torture and killings in The Gambia could
not be completed as the authorities denied them unrestricted and
unsupervised access to the places of detention. Their mission, among
other things, was to examine the current level of protection of the
right to life in both law and practice, assess the situation and
identify challenges regarding torture and other cruel, inhuman or
degrading treatment or punishment in The Gambia. The UN Human Rights
expert said they can only undertake a mission when invited by State
parties who signed the TOR which specifies “access to all prisons,
detention centres and places of interrogation”.
The team presented their preliminary findings which dealt in detail
with issues such as the Death penalty, Resumption of executions and
conditional moratorium, Use of force, Impunity for extra judicial
executions and enforced disappearances, Paramilitary groups, Public
demonstrations and the use of force, Prevalence of torture, Lack of
official registration upon detention, Lack of accountability regarding
investigations, Role of judiciary and prosecutors, Arrest and
detention powers, Forced confessions: evidence obtained under torture,
Access to lawyers, Forensics, Complaint system, Prison conditions,
National institutions, Ratification of UN treaties as well as other
issues that will be addressed in the final report such as the threat
to media, etc.