Friday, April 26, 2013

The Gambia: ARTICLE 19 condemns new attacks on freedom of expression




President of The Gambia Yahya Jammeh, who is often accused of rights violations by human rights defenders, speaks to journalists in 2011 (Photo credit: SEYLLOU/AFP)

Trial against Gambian journalist rescheduled

Jobe's trial could not proceed on Tuesday

Denied Bail Once More

A criminal trial brought against the Deputy Editor-In-Chief of the Daily Observer, Alagie Jobe which was due to continue on April 22, 2013 has been moved to April 30.

The trial suffered setback after the Kanifing Magistrates Court was told the first prosecution witness Jawor Darboe is out of jurisdiction.

Alagie Jobe is facing seven criminal charges, the most serious of which, is sedition.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Gambia: Internet communication restrictions flare up debate on social media

Image representing Skype as depicted in CrunchBase
This (Skype) is banned in internet cafes in The Gambia as a commercial service since April 19, 2013 by a brief press release (Image via Crunch Base)
Friday’s restrictions on Gambians using internet service communications has since flared up a debate on social media.

The Gambia’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, PURA, on April 19, banned companies and individual Internet Cafe operators from “offering dating services and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services as a commercially available service” to Gambians.

“PURA wishes to make it abundantly clear that the offering of “International and National Calling Services” within Internet Cafes using VoIP services (Viber, Skype, etc) is strictly prohibited,” a regulatory statement said.

The Gambia criticised for toughening law on false information

Cropped version of :Image:Gambia President Yah...
President of The Gambia Yahya Jammeh, is often criticised of rights violations by human rights defenders (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Gambia has criticised for the amendment of sections of Criminal Code Act that empowers the Courts to give harsher punishments to persons found guilty of giving false information to public officials.

On April 16, 2013, the tiny West African country’s National Assembly amended Section 114 of the Criminal Code which imposes a jail term of five years or a fine of D50, 000 (about USD1, 650) on persons convicted of giving false information.

The law previously allowed a jail term of not more than six months or a fine of D500 (about USD17) or both.

The Gambia Press Union is yet to issue a statement on the new law, but in a facebook update, its executive director, Gibairu Janneh lament: “It is a pity that whilst modern political trends demand accountability in governance through an independent, vibrant and pluralistic media, The Gambia is tightening the screws on its already muzzled press.”

“The Gambia today needs media law reform so as to enhance good governance, democracy and development and not using the law to suppress dissent,” Janneh wrote.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

2013 is critical for malaria financing

None - This image is in the public domain and ...
Dr. Sukwa noted that continued progress towards ending malaria deaths can only be achieved through sustained funding. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Human rights defenders welcome African Commission launch of model law on access to information

Map of African, with African Union member stat...
Map of African, with African Union member states in dark green and states with suspended membership in light green (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

$6.7m to support ECOWAS climate adaptability programme

ECOWAS members
ECOWAS members states are struggling to meet needed funds to tackle climate change (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Africa continues to grow strongly despite global slowdown

Africa’s economy rebounds strongly, but jobs r...
Africa’s economy rebounds strongly, but poverty remain elusive, says World Bank Africa Pulse (Photo credit: Africa Renewal)


But lessening poverty remains significantly elusive

The Gambia’s national assembly criminalizes cross-dressing, male prostitution

English: The Bisexual flag and Gay flag put to...
English: The Bisexual flag and Gay flag put together (Alphabetical order, "Bisexual" before "Homosexual".) with heterosexual symbol over it. It is for straight people who very proudly support gay, lesbian, and bisexual rights and issues. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

‘Amnesty fears Baba Leigh’s continued detention’

Carte des pays africains selon le statut de la...
Carte des pays africains selon le statut de la peine de mort (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

YJAG to hold mega fundraising dancehall show with DJ Pisces

The Young Journalists Association of The Gambia (YJAG) is to hold a mega dancehall musical show with one of the most renowned DJs in the country, DJ Pisces on 27 April 2013 at Romana in Bakau.
 

The fundraising is meant to gather more funds for the association to embark on more capacity building programmes for its members, the young journalists, for them to become responsible journalists in order to contribute their quota to national development of The Gambia.

Lamin Jahateh, secretary general of YJAG, reiterated that proceeds from the programme will also be used to implement a line-up of activities which the association is to hold but could not due to the perennial problem of lack of fund.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

‘Dropping of the knife is the beginning of change’



Ten-year jail term planned for female circumcisers in Gambia. In this photo, ex-circumcisers publicly declare dropping of the knife (Photo Credit: www.gamcotrap.gm)

The Gambia: Lower court says it cannot force State to do anything



Daily Observer editor Alagie Jobe has been in State custody since his arrest in February 2013

Death penalty violates fundamental human rights



Commissioner Kayitesi Zainabo Sylvie (Photo credit: ACHPR)
36 African countries maintain it in their laws

Capital punishment constitutes a violation of fundamental human rights, the Special Rapportuer on Death Penalty in Africa, Commissioner Kayitesi Zainabo Sylvie said on Saturday.

“The right to life under Article 4 of the African Charter and the right not to be subjected to any form of cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment and treatment under Article 5 undoubtedly discourage capital punishment,” she stressed.

For ‘concealing treason’ Alieu Lowe gets 20 years imprisonment

Colonel Ndure Cham (photo source: Unknown)
The High Court in Banjul on April 16, 2013 convicted and sentenced Alieu Jobe to 20 years imprisonment for “concealment of treason and perjury”.

His co-accused Abdoulie Njie was acquitted and discharged on the same charges.

The duo were arrested, detained and later charged in relation to the 2006 foiled coup plot led by Colonel Ndure Cham, a runaway former Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) of The Gambia Armed Forces.

They had, during the trial, denied the charges brought against them by the State. They were charged with three counts, two counts of concealment of treason against both accused persons and one count of perjury against the Lowe, the 2nd accused.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

FROM COMMISSIONER SOYATA MAIGA’S DIARY


Commissioner Soyata Maiga (Photo credit: ACHPR)

Few positive developments on the protection of women’s rights in Africa 

Few positive developments have been recorded since last Session regarding the protection of women’s rights, Commissioner Soyata Maiga, the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women in Africa said on Thursday.

Despite the intensive advocacy campaign conducted by the mechanism of the Special Rapporteur and the activities to combat gender-based violence organised by NGOs, little has been achieved. 

FROM COMMISSIONER MED S.K. KAGGWA’S DIARY



Commissioner Kaggwa (Photo credit: ACHPR)
Prisons in Africa are far below acceptable international standards

African prisons are far below acceptable international standards and those who are imprisoned still live in poor conditions, Commissioner Med S.K Kaggwa, the Special Rapportuer on Prisons and Conditions of Detention in Africa said on Wednesday.

Kaggwa’s presentation on April 10 is part of the Activity Reports of Special Mechanisms of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) to which he is a member. The 53rd Ordinary Session of the ACHPR is hosted by The Gambia from 9-23 April, 2013.

FROM COMMISSIONER PANSY TLAKULA’S DIARY

Adv. Pansy Tlakula (Photo credit: ACHPR)
State of free expression and access to information in Africa 

Commissioner Adv. Pansy Tlakula, the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa tells the 53rd Ordinary Session of the African Commission of her activities on April 11.

The ordinary session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) is hosted by The Gambia from 9-23 April, 2013. Tlakula’s presentation is part of the Activity Reports of Special Mechanisms of the ACHPR to which she is a member.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Africa: 100s of minority groups in dire need of protection



 Ms. Rita Izsák, Independent Expert on Minority Issues (Photo credit: OCHR)
Hundreds of minority groups across Africa are in dire need of strengthened attention and protection, Rita Izsák, United Nations’ Independent Expert on Minority Issues warns on Thursday.

All African States and the international community must act urgently, she said at the 53rd Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) hosted in Banjul, The Gambia from April 9-23, 2013. 
“The debate on who are the minorities and who are the indigenous peoples in Africa must not prevent stakeholders from addressing the extremely vulnerable situation of hundreds of minority communities across the continent,” Izsák said.

The Gambia: FA presidential hopeful barred from attending adoptive congress



Kebba Yoro Manneh (center of 2nd row, in light-blue dress and white hat) attends press confab shortly after delegates cast their ballots (Photo credit: B.B.Baldeh/GFA/Facebook)

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Mubarak's re-trial suffers setback

Hosni Mubarak is apparently traumatized by his ordeal and has fallen sick since his ousting (Photo credit: AFP)

GFA adopts constitution amid nonstop arguments


GFA chairperson Alhagie Omar Sey says those who voted against the Constitution will be disenfranchised in the June 29, 2013 GFA presidential election (Photo credit: B.B. Baldeh/GFA/Facebook)

The Gambia: Woman wins international award for terrific devotion to the health of horses and donkeys



Ms White is “absolutely delighted” to have won this Ceva award. Click here to see VIDEO (Photo credit: The Gambia Horse and Donkey Trust)

Civil Society wants greater focus on human rights violations in Eritrea


Eritrea’s rights violations goes beyond the country’s borders, claims Hala Alkarib.

Free Eritrea democracy march in San Francisco 159
Free Eritrea democracy march in San Francisco (Photo credit: Steve Rhodes)

NGOs picks out Africa’s plus and minus on human rights



Human Rights Defenders at the NGOs Forum April 25-27, 2011 (Photo Credit: M.S. Joof/TNBES)

IMF highlights risks to Gambia’s economic outlook

Shopping in Kololi Market, The Gambia
Gambia: Economy at risk - Tourists shopping in Kololi Market, The Gambia (Photo credit: Anguskirk)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

More charges against Daily Observer editor

‘The Gambia will soon have a functional independent human rights commission’

A session of the ACHPR in Gambia, 2009 (Photo credit: Guillaume Colin & Pauline Penot)
The Gambia will soon be part of some African States that have a functional independent Human Rights Commission, the country’s Justice Minister Lamin Jobarteh said on Tuesday.

He hopes this process will be expedited as the government has commenced consultations on the establishment of a national Human Rights Commission with the assistance of the Commonwealth Secretariat.

We cannot hope African governments will uphold legal provisions

Human Rights Defenders at the Forum on the Participation of Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs) in the 49th Ordinary Session of the ACHPR and the 23rd African Human Rights Book Fair in Banjul from April 25-27, 2011 (Photo Credit: M.S. Joof/TNBES)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Kenya sworn in indicted Kenyatta as new president

Kenyatta (Photo credit: Al Jazeera English)
Uhuru Kenyatta, the winner of last month's presidential election in Kenya, who is indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity, is sworn in as Kenya's new president today.

TV reports showed Mr Kenyatta, 51, in a Nairobi Stadium holding a Bible, saying: "I do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the Republic of Kenya".

Media reports said many Kenyans hope that the son of Jomo Kenyatta, Kenya's first president, will live up to his pledge to be a leader for all and not just work for people from his own ethnic group, a practice they have come to expect from their politicians.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

African Commission raises concerns over state parties’ reprisals against human rights defenders

Human Rights Defenders at the Forum on the Participation of Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs) in the 49th Ordinary Session of the ACHPR and the 23rd African Human Rights Book Fair in Banjul from April 25-27, 2011 (Photo Credit: M.S. Joof/TNBES)

Gambian journalists expect country to perform poorly in 2014 free expression index

Gambian journalist and blogger Modou S. Joof interact with Global Voices’ Sub-Saharan Africa editor Ndesanjo Macha (Photo Credit: D. Kandeh/Globe/FPI)

ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS: More Gambians determined to travel to Europe in perilous journeys

Saturday, April 6, 2013

UTG student associations announces Gambia tour to end poverty


Two student associations of the University of The Gambia, UTG, this week announced plans to embark on an awareness tour that seeks to end poverty.

UTG’s Social Sciences and Humanities Students’ Association, SoSHSA, and the Science Students’ Association, SSA, said the nationwide tour begins May 27 this year on the topic “Education to end poverty”.

It is aimed at creating awareness among students, particularly those in Upper River and North Bank regions through teaching, sensitization, and community services. 

The chairperson of the tour-organizing committee Omar Jallow said the travel around the country is meant “to help broaden the intellectual scope” of UTG students on fundamental issues relevant to the alleviation of poverty in our communities”.

UTG Students Union elects broadcaster Nfally Fadera as new secretary general


Fadera is renowned for his news broadcast in the Mandinka local language he started at the now defunct Taranga FM - to which thousands of uneducated Gambians tune in. (Photo credit: Fadera/Facebook)

Friday, April 5, 2013

LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTION: APRC lost Banjul, retains KMC


Abdoulie Bah is new Mayor of Banjul, The Gambia's capital (Photo Credit: The Point)

The Gambia’s rulling party, APRC saw its mayoral candidate Samba Faal sent packing by independent candidate Abdoulie Bah in Thursday’s local government election.

Mr Bah defeated the incumbent Mr Faal 4980 to 3811 in the April 4 national election.

At the KMC, incumbent mayor Yakuba Colley defeated independent candidate Sheikh Omar Saho 25,773 to 10,982 to ensure the ruling party holds on to country’s most densely populated municipality.

The Banjul seat was contested by Samba Faal, Abdoulie Bah, Addoulie Jah and Basiru Ndow. The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) declared Bah the winner with 4980 votes, Samba Faal 3811 votes, Basiru Ndow 552 votes and Addoulie Jah 390.

Elections observers confirmed that this is the ruling APCR’s second defeat to an independent candidate for the mayoral position in the commercial capital, Banjul. In 2003, the ruling party was defeated by independent candidate Pa Sallah Jeng, though his tenure was short-lived.

Monday, April 1, 2013

GFA to adopt constitution on April 13

FGM is a development issue that transcend the African continent

Graphic: African continent
Graphic: African continent (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In her paper titled “The Politics of FGM: The Influence of External and Locally-Led Initiatives in the Gambia” Dr. Isatou Touray contextualizes Female Genital Mutilation as part of the development agenda throughout the world.  

A development issue that transcends the African continent, and as inter and intra-racial marriages are taking place so also is FGM an issue for immigrants in the Diaspora.

Dr. Isatou Touray, the Executive Director of GAMCOTRAP, an anti-FGM Gambian agency, was guest speaker at the Gender Institute at the London School of Economics on March 18, 2013. 

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