The request came in observance of the World Day Against Death Penalty. Amnesty International KM Group in collaboration with the National Human Rights Commission last Saturday 14th October 2023 brought together stakeholders to recognise the significant part of their ongoing advocacy efforts to raise awareness and promote the abolition of the death penalty in The Gambia.
Madi Ceesay, chairperson of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Human Rights, said the process of having the death penalty out of the book is at the advanced stage. According to him, currently the Criminal Offences Bill and Criminal Procedure Bill are before the Standing Committee of Human Rights.
He cited Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states that that everyone has the right to live. However, he said, violations are happening in the country and those gross violations of people’s rights are “done by state institutions, police in particular.”
He added that Article 19 has given the right to freedom of expression and opinion. “What we are seeing are people being arrested and detained beyond 72 hours, which is a gross violation,” Hon. Ceesay pointed out.
“We are not calling on people to commit a crime and be scot-free but if they are accused of a crime, we must take relevant state procedures,” he said.
Hon. Ceesay therefore urged the government to be law abiding and respect the rights of people no matter who they are.
Mansour Jobe, from the National Human Rights Commission, said the Commission has made efforts to produce an advisory note against the death penalty, adding that the death penalty is not an effective way of fighting crimes and that its application does not make society any safer.
“We should remind ourselves that revenge in the form of the death penalty only perpetuates violence and suffering and weakens the very essence and concept of Justice.”
As a Commission, he said they support the abolition of the death penalty as it is inconsistent with human rights thus it has no place in society.
Mr. Jobe also urged the government to repeal the death penalty as recommended by the Truth Reconciliation and Reparations Commission and also enact the Criminal Offences Bill into law in order to eradicate the death penalty.