#Article (Archive)

A good omen

Nov 3, 2014, 5:01 PM

(Friday, 31 October 2014 Issue)
We are very much fascinated that our government has finally invited United Nations independent human rights experts to visit The Gambia to do a sort of fact-finding and investigation on the alleged human rights violations in the country.

The government initially deferred the first proposed visit of the UN special rapporteurs on extrajudicial executions and on torture, scheduled for 12 through 18 August 2014, due to “unexpected commitment” and said they should wait until early 2015. For what reason we could not tell.

But just as the country’s human rights record was reviewed on Tuesday at the UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR) underway in Geneva, Switzerland, the government has now given the UN human rights experts the green light to visit The Gambia.

This shows that there is nothing to be scared of or edgy about. After all, even during the UN human rights review a lot of positive things were related to The Gambia save for one or two missing links.

In the deductions of the Gambian delegation in Geneva, under the leadership of the Minister of Justice, the country’s human rights record is not as it is portrayed at the international world.

But we certainly know there is need for such experts to be here because their “independent” report will tell a lot.

We are optimistic, therefore, that the special rapporteurs will thoroughly examine the level of protection of the right to life in law and in practice, as well as examine some other facts and realities on the ground.

We are also confident that they will comprehensively assess the situation and identify challenges regarding torture and other punishments, as well as look into the conditions of detention centres.

As for now, we welcome them to the Smiling Coast of Africa, and hope that they will be able to work as independently as they should and that all the stakeholders, particularly government agencies, cooperate with them.

We hope that they will have all the information they need in the course of their work.

“Human rights are not a privilege granted by the few, they are a liberty entitled to all, and human rights, by definition, include the rights of all humans, those in the dawn of life, the dusk of life, or the shadows of life.”

Kay Granger