Tuesday, May 30

NHRC urges Gov’t to   investigate the shooting of four men on Foni-Casamance Border

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 By: Nyima Sillah

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in its recent Human Rights report recommended that the Government carefully should investigate the shooting of four men on the Foni-Casamance border.

  Emmanuel D. Joof, Chairperson of the NHRC, stated that the Government of the Gambia has an obligation under the 1997 Constitution, the African Charter as well as the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights to prevent the arbitrary deprivation of life in The Gambia.

“It is in this vein that the Commission is urging the Government to thoroughly investigate the shooting of four (4) men purported to have had both Gambian and Senegalese citizenship by Senegalese soldiers which happened on 9th December 2022 at the Foni-Casamance border and make public its findings, and hold those responsible accountable.

“This fatal shooting was allegedly carried out by drones belonging to the Senegalese Army, that killed three civilians, and seriously injured another. The Government is yet to publish its investigation report and no individual has so far been held accountable for their role in the fatal shooting,” Joof pointed out.

  The report further recommended the Ministry of Justice take steps to repeal the death penalty from the Criminal Code and Criminal Procedure Code in line with the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which the State has ratified.

“The Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Interior to take measures to protect the sanctity of life which is enshrined in the 1997 Constitution and other regional and international human rights instruments The Gambia is a party to such as the 1951 Refugee Convention, as amended by the 1967 Protocol, 1969 OAU Refugee Convention and the 1998 UN Guiding Principles on the specific needs of internally displaced persons worldwide,” the report recommended.

Meanwhile, the report also pointed out that the Gambia continues to maintain a moratorium on the execution of the Death Penalty, noting the State has also shown initiative towards its abolition through the ratification of the Second Protocol to the ICCPR.

“In the 2021 State of Human Rights Report, the NHRC recommended the repeal of the death penalty from the Criminal Code in line with the Second Optional Protocol to ICCPR. The State is, however, yet to comply with this recommendation. In this regard, a sentence to death can be passed by the High Court for crimes punishable by death as long as the law continues to exist,” the NHRC report noted.

According to the NHRC report, the form of punishment in July 2022, when Yankuba Badgie and four other former NIA Officers were sentenced to death following their conviction for the murder of Ebrima Solo Sandeng in 2016, has been criticized for being a violation of the right to life.

As such, The NHRC stated it will continue to encourage the Government to take necessary steps toward the abolition of the death penalty in line with its international obligations.