The ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) a global federation of trade unions has issued a statement expressing concerns over the arrest of members of the defunct GNTCA and the death in custody last week of its secretary general Sheriff Dibba.
According to the statement, in a letter to the Gambian president, ITF general secretary Steve Cotton stated:
“I am writing to you to express the Federation’s grave concerns following the arrest of several trade union leaders of the Gambian National Transport Control Association (GNTCA) and the death of one of its leaders, Sheriff Dibba, on 21 February 2016 while in detention at the ‘2 Mile’ prison.” .
The statement condemns the dissolution and prohibition of GNTCA activities, the arrests of its leaders and in particular the death of Sheriff Dibba, and requests for urgent intervention to ensure that:
- The dissolution of the GNTCA and the prohibition of all its activities at national and international levels are lifted;
- Charges against the leaders and members of the GNTCA are dropped; and
- An inquiry to determine the exact circumstances of the death of Sheriff Dibba.
The statement further stated that ITF is also preparing a case regarding Sheriff Diba’s death and the government’s “punitive measures” against the GNTCA for hearing at the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Geneva. It has, along with the Syndicat des Travailleurs des Transports Routiers du Sénégal – Forces du Changement (STTRS – FC), also launched a Labour Start appeal by which trade unionists internationally can write to the Gambian president demanding an investigation into Sheriff Dibba’s death.