The opposition party, the Gambia Moral Congress, has put up a strong disagreement to the call by the Civil Society Forum of African NGOs “to relocate the Banjul-based African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) from The Gambia to another AU member state.”
GMC believes that removal of the African Commission from The Gambia does not provide effective and durable approach to the “endemic problem” of mal-governance in Africa, the party’s leader Mai Ahmad Fatty, said.
“It provides no guarantee or safeguard against the possibility of grievous rights violations by a future government in the next country to host the Commission, if The Gambia were to lose it,” argues Mr. Fatty.
On October 6, 2012, Human rights NGOs who met in Yamoussoukro, Cote d’Ivoire to participate in the 25th anniversary and 52nd Session of the ACHPR intensified calls for Gambia to be stripped of its title: “Human Rights Capital of Africa.”
Rights defenders vigorous campaigned to move the ACHPR out of Gambia cited rights violations in the West African country as a major reason.
“The Gambia Government is best known for its contempt of the principles of human rights; and its continued acts of rights abuse,” they said in a Resolution titled “Gambia - governance, democracy and respectfor the rule of law”
The pan-African pro-human rights body, the African Commission, had in the past approved several damning Resolutions against the President Yahya Jammeh-led regime of the Gambia.
According to the GMC, none of these Resolutions were implemented either by the Commission or the AU, its parent body, hence it is advocating for the full implementation of existing Resolutions against what it called “the tyrant’s regime.”
The youngest political party in Gambia believes this would induce and compel radical and dramatic shifts in Gambian political equation, resulting in significant expansion of the democratic space.
“GMC calls on the Civil Society Forum of African NGOs to press the African Commission to implement its existing Resolutions and Protocols against the regime, including building international consensus for targeted sanctions, asset freeze, travel ban, suspension from international organisations, etc and isolation of the regime so as to disable all of its capacities to stay in power,” the party demands.
The GMC’s stance contradicts the position of the pressure group, Civil Society Association Gambia (CSAG), which supported callsto move the ACHPR to another “African Union (AU) member state that has ademonstrable track record of respecting human rights, rule of law and goodgovernance.”
Nonetheless, the party’s leader Mai Fatty said “GMC is very appreciative and proud of the role played by Dr. Ahmad Scattred Janneh, Ms. Ndey Tapha Sosseh and Alhaji Buba Baldeh at the just concluded ACHPR process in Cote d’Ivoire, and in facilitating strong Resolution against the Jammeh regime’s rights violations.”
The African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights was adopted in Nairobi, Kenya in 1981 by the Assembly of Heads of States of the then OAU now AU. State parties to the instrument also unanimously resolved to establish the headquarters of African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights, the charters mechanism in Banjul, The Gambia in recognition of the country’s unmatched democratic credentials at the time.
And the GMC leader pleaded with rights activists not to take away what it called “an essential part of our glorious history.”
“We advocate for robust international action against the regime in so far as it is coordinated in consultation and in agreement with The Gambian representative political alternative movement both at home and in the Diaspora,” Fatty said.
Written by Modou S. Joof