The Gambia: Briefing Paper on the situation of human rights defenders

18.03.2014

(Geneva) - The Gambia is scheduled to be reviewed at the 20th session of the Universal Periodic Review in October 2014.

Restrictive legislation, judicial harassment, defamation, arbitrary arrest, disappearances and impunity mean that human rights defenders remain at significant risk in The Gambia.

(Geneva) - The Gambia is scheduled to be reviewed at the 20th session of the Universal Periodic Review in October 2014.

Restrictive legislation, judicial harassment, defamation, arbitrary arrest, disappearances and impunity mean that human rights defenders remain at significant risk in The Gambia.

There are severe restrictions on the right to freedom of expression in The Gambia. Journalists and human rights lawyers who are critical of the government are frequently subject to prosecution and phsyical attack. In July 2013, The Gambia amended the 2009 Information and Communications Act, stipulating a 15-year jail term and/or a heavy fine for persons spreading ‘false news’ – a provision that is used to criminalise and silence those who criticise the government or public officials.

The establishment, independence and effectiveness of NGOs is severely hampered by a requirement that such organisations comply with government development plans, with their activities closely monitored by the NGO Affairs Agency.

Human rights defenders working on issues related to sexual and reproductive health and the rights of women and children also face particular risks.

This Briefing Paper on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders in The Gambia is intended to assist States and other stakeholders to formulate questions and recommendations regarding the protection of human rights defenders during the UPR.

For further information about the Briefing Paper or for any assistance or advice in the formulation of recommendations, please contact ISHR's Head of African Commission Advocacy, Clement Voule, on c.voule@ishr.ch

Photo: UN Photo/Marco Castro

Category:

Region
  • Africa
Topic
  • Human rights defenders
Mechanism
  • Universal Periodic Review
Country
  • Gambia