By Omar Bah
Amnesty International’s acting deputy regional director for West and Central, Marta Colomer has reminded President Adama Barrow his promise to respect human rights.
She said this in a statement issued Monday in the wake of the recent 3 Years Jotna protesters’ clash with police resulting in the arrest of at least 137 people with many also injured.
“President Adama Barrow must not forget his significant promises to improve the Gambia’s human rights situation. He must ensure that journalists are able to carry out their work without fear of reprisal and immediately lift the ban imposed on civil society organizations,” Amnesty said in a statement seen by The Standard.
The human rights group has also warned Gambian authorities that the mass arrests of people following the violent protest could fuel tension in the country.
“Sunday’s crackdown on protesters had alarming echoes of Gambia’s brutal past. There have been some significant improvements in the country’s human rights record since President Adama Barrow came to power, but the use of excessive force by security forces to disperse protesters risks fuelling tensions and steering Gambia back to dark days of repression,” Amnesty said.
“The authorities claimed that there are no fatalities. They now must promptly, thoroughly and effectively investigate the allegations and bring to justice anyone suspected to be responsible.”
“No one should face arrest simply for exercising their human rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. The authorities must immediately and unconditionally release all those detained for exercising their right to peaceful protest. We also call on them to reopen the radio stations which they closed and release the journalists detained. Any attack on media freedom should end.”