Saturday, November 6, 2010

Rights Defenders Wants Gambia to Produce Chief Manneh and Investigate Deyda’s Death


Banjul, The Gambia (TNBES African human rights defenders meeting in Banjul have called on the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights to put pressure on the government of The Gambia to produce missing journalist Chief Ebrima Manneh and investigate the killing of Deyda Hydara, the managing editor of The Point newspaper, killed in 2004.

In their resolution on freedom of expression at the end of the 47th Session of the Non- Governmental Organizations (NGO) Forum on Tuesday, they outline deep concern about the state of freedom of expression and freedom of information, which is considerably deteriorating in Africa.

The African rights defenders said that they are worried about the grave reality that Somalia is the most
dangerous in Africa for journalists and other media workers, and that since January ten journalists have been killed in targeted attacks.


The Resolution also expresses concern about the incessant emasculation of media and journalists rights and to the freedom of expression in Uganda where
government authorities have continued to violate the rights of journalists and
the media in the past two years.

Resolution on freedom of expression further stated that it is deeply disheartened and disturbed by the situation of freedom of expression and the journalists’ rights
in Eritrea
that takes the pride in jailing and detaining journalists incommunicado since
2001.

In Cameroon and Zimbabwe, the Resolution expressed concern over the increasingly repressive situation of
journalists which threatens the enjoyment of fundamental human rights of
freedom of expression which led grave violations of free press in the two
countries.

Human Rights defenders also expresses concern about the suppression of freedom of expression and press freedom in Tunisia despite the highly elaborate
legislative and institutional architecture in the country.

In a ten point Resolution, the participants at the 47th Session of the NGO Forum urged the African Commission to:

Express its solidarity with the helpless Somali journalists and to condemn in no certain terms, the continued and perilous violence against journalists and
other media workers in Somalia.

Call upon the government of Uganda to demonstrate its commitment to freedom of expression, democracy and to
immediately end attacks on the right to freedom of expression and of the press
including the ban on media houses and live radio debate programmes.

Put pressure on the government to produce journalist Chief Ebrima Manneh and to investigate the killing of Deyda Hydara.

Demand member states to abolish all draconian laws that curtail the right to freedom of expression and of the press as stipulated in the African Charter, to
encourage member States to immediately enact laws on freedom of information and
to decriminalize all media offenses.

Play the leader’s role by taking appropriate actions that would lead to the unconditional and immediate release of the journalists from prison in Eritrea.

Demand Cameroonian authorities to immediately end attacks on the media and provide an independent and reliable report on the death of Bibi Ngota who died in
pre-trial detention.

Implement the recommendations on Zimbabwe that was adopted by the Commission during the 46th Session
requesting the special rapportuer on freedom of expression to conduct a
fact-finding and investigative mission to Zimbabwe and repeal Article 79 and
80 of Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA).

Convene a high-level panel on the protection of journalists in Africa in the 48th Session of the African Commission on human and Peoples’
Rights.

Conduct a fact-finding mission to Tunisia for an objective and documented assessment of the situation of a pluralistic
and independent media, freedom of association, the independence of the
judiciary and the detention of prisoners of opinion.

Put pressure on all governments and armed groups to adhere and respect their international obligations to bring to an end the culture of impunity, to foster
lasting peace and the rule of law, and to bring to an end the fear of
journalists to be killed, tortured, injured, kidnapped and being held hostage,
especially in conflict areas. Vol:2
Issn:178

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