The African Movement for Democracy strongly condemns the current repressive events in the Republic of the Gambia, which have led to the death of opposition political leader Solo Sandeng, and the arrest of members of his party.
We lend our voice to the call for the respect of human rights (right to life, freedom of expression and peaceful assembly), release of illegally detained protesters and non-violence in Gambia.
The African Movement for Democracy, an African network of democrats who come together for mutual support and cooperation, stands in support and solidarity with the citizens of the Republic of the Gambia at this critical moment in their political history.
We urge the government of the Gambia to honor its obligations under the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which it has duly ratified. Article 2 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights explicitly states that, “Every individual shall be entitled to the enjoyment of the rights and freedoms recognized and guaranteed in the present Charter without distinction of any kind such as race, ethnic group, colour, sex, language, religion, political or any other opinion, national and social origin, fortune, birth or other status.” Part II of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights equally states that, “Each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes to respect and to ensure to all individuals within its territory and subject to its jurisdiction the rights recognized in the present Covenant, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.”
We therefore call on the Government of the Republic of the Gambia to:
- Conduct a prompt, thorough and independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of opposition leader, Solo Sandeng.
- Uphold its obligations under various international instruments by immediately and unconditionally releasing detained protesters and stop the intimidation and assault of peaceful demonstrators in the Gambia;
- End the current violence and immediately institute mechanisms towards strengthening its democracy and electoral reforms, including free and fair elections, an independent election commission, press freedom and equal access to public media.
We especially urge the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to call the government of the Republic of the Gambia to order or impose sanctions where necessary should the oppression persist.
We call on civil society organizations and the media in Gambia to remain resolute in the defense of democracy.
The African Movement for Democracy extends heartfelt condolences to the families of the deceased.
The Africa we want is an Africa where democratic values, culture, practice, universal principles of human rights, gender equality, justice and the rule of law are entrenched.
Action d’assistance des Jeunes Vulnérables pour le Développement (AJVD), Burundi
Centre for Accountability and the Rule of Law, Sierra Leone
Collectif des Organisations des Jeunes Solidaires du Congo – Kinshasa (COJESKI-RDC), Democratic Republic of Congo
Community Empowerment for Rehabilitation and Development (CEFoRD), South Sudan
Democracy Tech Squad, Mali
Education aux Droits Humains (EDH)/
Amnesty International, Sénégal
Femmes et Droits Humains (F&DH), Mali
Femmes, Actions et Développement, Niger
Forum de la société civile de l’Afrique (FOSCAOCI), Côte d’Ivoire
Foundation for Democracy and Accountable Governance (FODAG), South Sudan
Front Africain pour le Développement (FAD), Mali
Human Rights League in the Great Lakes (LDGL), Rwanda
Institute for Young Women Development, Zimbabwe
Journalistes pour la promotion de la démocratie et des droits humains, JPDDH, République démocratique du Congo
Lawyers for Human Rights, Swaziland
Nasarawa Coalition of Business and Professional Associations (NACOBPA), Nigeria
National Youth Movement for Transparent Elections (NAYMOTE), Liberia
Network for Solidarity, Empowerment and Transformation for All (NewSETA), Cameroon
Network Mushahide Media, Mauritania
ONG Azhar-Kidal, Mali
Organising for Zimbabwe Trust, Zimbabwe
Organization for Community Civic engagement (OCCEN), Nigeria
Parlement des Jeunes leaders de la société civile Guinéenne, Guinée Conakry
Rencontre Africaine pour la Défense des Droits de l’Homme (RADDHO), Sénégal
Réseau Jeunesse et Politique de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (RJPAO), Burkina Faso
South Sudan Development Agency, South Sudan
Tag a Life (TaLi), Zimbabwe
The African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies (ACDHRS), Gambia
Trinity Foundation, Cameroon
West African Youth Network (WAYN), Sierra Leone
Youngstars Development Initiative, Nigeria
Youth Forum Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe
Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement (YIAGA), Nigeria
Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights), Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe Organization for the Youth in Politics, Zimbabwe