executive director of the global free expression agency Article 19, has called
for rebranding of The Gambia whose reputation has been tarnished over the years
due to human right violations.
Speaking in an interview with The Point on the side lines of the Ordinary Session of the African Commission last week, Gambian-born, Dakar-based Fatou Jagne-Senghore said this is necessary “to give back the hopes we all need in Africa to really come back to where we belong as capital of human rights in Africa.”
“This Banjul, is the birthplace of the African Charter and the headquarters of the prime body which is the African commission which was discredited all these years because of the Gambia’s human rights record. We believe that we can have a new start,” she said in an exclusive interview.
On the pledges President Barrow made to the Africa and civil society delegates at the opening of the sessions last week, Mrs. Jagne-Senghore said it is commendable that the commitments are coming from the highest level as they have seen some steps already.
“As we speak, for example, our organisation is working with government, namely the Ministries of Information and Justice, to assist and make progress in the reform of laws and policies that are governing the freedom of expression landscape. This is priority area for the government,” she said.
She added that the president has reiterated during his State-of-the-Nation address, and repeated these at the opening ceremony of the commission, that media laws and freedom of expression are central to the rest of other freedoms.
“We also know that these rights have been most violated during the 22 years of the past regime. So it is a priority,” she said.
The activist, whose organisation began work on The Gambia since 1998 urges all to work together and ensure that the country has a good Freedom of Information Bill that will ensure that all Gambians are close to their government, have access to information that is of interest to the public and also for the government to be more accountable and more open to the public, allow free flow of information.
You can read the full text of Fatou Jagne’s interview in our Friday edition.