Posts Tagged ‘the Gambia’

African human rights defenders were trained in Banjul on effective monitoring

November 10, 2017

 

Human rights defenders from across Africa were in The Gambia undergoing a three-day training to consolidate their knowledge and skills on relevant human rights instruments for effective monitoring at the continental and international levels. The training on international and regional human rights mechanisms, was held from 25 – 29 October 2017, was organised by the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, CIVICUS, ISHR, ACHPR and the United Nations Human Rights Council. The training was held on the margins of the Forum on the Participation of NGOs in the 61st Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and 36th African Human Rights Book Fair.

The training was designed to sharpen the knowledge and skills on the procedures for the promotion and protection of human rights in Africa. It was divided into three main parts: the international and the regional systems and mechanisms for the two days, and freedom of association and assembly, the SDGs, and human rights monitoring. Hannah Forster of the African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies (ACDHRS – http://www.acdhrs.org) said: “This, we believe, will enable us to better understand opportunities available as we engage governments in the fulfillment of their mandates to promote and protect human rights and it will equip us with the knowledge and skills to lobby our governments to domesticate and implement their commitments while assisting participants to frame a strategy as they seek redress for violations of human rights”.

 

Source: African human rights defenders train on effective monitoring – The Point Newspaper, Banjul, The Gambia

Indian star Celina Jaitly shows Erykah Badu the way

May 10, 2014

A few days ago Erykah Badu on Twitter remained obstinate over her scheduled performance in The Gambia. Other bloggers (e.g. http://yafri.ca/erykah-badu-faces-criticism-over-her-performance-for-gambian-president/) are adding to the noise by pointing out that President Jammeh’s regime consistently cracks down on the opposition and the media. In its submission to the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Gambia, the human rights organisation, Amnesty International, stated “Since Gambia’s first Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in 2010, the human rights situation in the country has deteriorated. The government continues to stifle freedom of expression and commit other human rights violations with impunity.” An online campaign has been put in place by web users to enlighten the singer about the Gambian dictator. See Facebook and twitter campaign of disapproval [@fatbellybella]. HOWEVER in the meantime it seems that Erykah Badu has decided NOT to attend Gambia’s much publicized Roots Homecoming Festival. Especially Gambian dissidents based in the United States have repeatedly prevailed on the Grammy winning artist not to attend the festival. ..Interestingly  the singer’s likely absence has angered Gambian artist Gibou Balla Gaye, who goes with the street name Gee.  Perhaps good to note here that Gee is the son of Balla Gaye, Gambia’s former Finance Minister. 

Anyway it is nice to be able to point to better examples, such as Celina Jaitly in India who tackled the taboo of gay relations. The United Nations Free & Equal Campaign published on 29 April 2014 this first-ever Bollywood music video for gay rights, featuring Bollywood star Celina Jaitly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lihVCIFamb0 [sorry you have CONTR/click as the embedding does not work – but worth a view!!].

https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2014/05/02/erykah-badu-unapologetic-about-her-human-rights-performance-and-plans-to-repeat-in-the-gambia/

http://www.freedomnewspaper.com/Homepage/tabid/36/newsid367/9872/Gee-The-Fake-Ass-Gambian-Artist-Is-Crying-Over-Erykah-Badus-Failure-To-Attend-Gambias-Roots-Homecoming-Festival–/Default.aspx

Erykah Badu unapologetic about her human rights performance and plans to repeat in the Gambia

May 2, 2014

SXSW Film-Interactive-Music - Day 9

(Erykah Badu performs onstage 15 March 2014 in Austin; Roger Kisby—Getty Images)

The misuse of star power by Erykah Badu referred to in an earlier post got a nice follow up according to the opinion piece posted by Thor Halvorssen and Alex Gladstein in TIME of 2 May 2014. After recalling in detail her singing for the Swazi absolute monarch [https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2014/04/30/another-case-of-misused-star-power-erykah-badu-performs-for-swaziland-dictator/], the authors describe Badu’s defensive and sometimes offensive comments in the social media: Read the rest of this entry »

Vacancy at Front Line (internship) for African Commission on Human Rights, Banjul

March 30, 2014

The NGO Front Line Defenders has a vacancy for an internship at the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) for 2014-2015, starting on 9 June. The purpose of the Internship is to support the work of the Special Frontline NEWlogos-1 condensed version - croppedRapporteur on Human Rights Defenders at the ACHPR. It is a 12 month position based in Banjul, the Gambia. Compensation is 950 $ per month. The deadline for applications is 18 April 2014. Applications can be sent by email to recruit[at]frontlinedefenders.org.

 

Imam Baba Leigh writes impressively how opposing the death penalty in Gambia forced him into exile

November 5, 2013

Imam Baba Leigh

A huge social media campaign was mounted on behalf of Imam Baba Leigh during his incarceration [Twitter].

Just a few days ago, on 22 October, I was given an award from the Pan-African Human Rights Defenders Network. I was not expecting it, which makes me all the more happy and appreciative. Sadly, I was not allowed to go and receive it in my home country, The Gambia, because there was a chance I could be arrested there. My responsibility, as a Muslim and as a scholar, is to ensure people enjoy their human rights, regardless of colour, race, gender, religion, tradition, economic status or anything else. We are all human beings at the end of the day. As a human rights activist receiving such a prestigious award is wonderful. You feel your work is recognised and encouraged.

Problems for me started when, in August 2012, our head of state President Jammeh promised to execute several inmates. So I went to talk to The Standard newspaper and urged the President to forgive them. “Forgiveness is part of faith and they are no longer a threat to the security of the nation,” I said quoting the holy Qur’an. A week after the executions, the Islamic Council of The Gambia made a declaration that the executions were Islamic. I gave a Friday sermon at the mosque and replied the executions had nothing to do with Islam. They were un-Islamic. Even though the holy Qur’an mentions executions, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) valued forgiveness. My comments caused a lot of commotion. The newspaper was shut down. I started receiving intimidating calls…

On 3 December, I was arriving home after a funeral when I found two men from the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) there waiting for me. “You are wanted [at the NIA offices] to answer some questions,” they said…I was then put in a jail until around 1.00am. Then they started beating, hitting and kicking me. For nine days I suffered a lot. You never know how important and valuable freedom is until it is taken from you. I used to struggle trying to get people out of jail. Trying to bring peace. Trying to bring peaceful coexistence. I didn’t know this is the way things are until the day I was detained. You can understand ending up in prison if you commit a crime, if you are taken to a judge and sentenced. At least then you would know why you are being held, and for how long. I was abducted and then held incommunicado – I couldn’t see anybody, I couldn’t hear anybody.

I had not committed any crime and my conscience was clean. After nine days, they told me I was going home and they put me in another car. The man taking me said “we are taking you home”, but they drove to a hidden place called Bambadinka, which means “hole of dragons”. There I was put in a very small, very filthy, dirty room. I spent five months there. I was kept in a dark, small room where I couldn’t see or hear anything, only rats and spiders. After five months and 17 days, I was released. Some people say that I am now free. But this is not freedom. Freedom is to be able to go home when you want to. I’m just in a bigger jail.

My ambition is to speak for those who have no pulpit, no opportunity for themselves. And to pass the peaceful message of Islam and other religions. I’m urging people in position of authority, presidents and kings alike, to embrace the freedom of their people and to protect it. You can be a president today, you can be a leader today, you can be an authority today, but things change very quickly. You can find yourself fall from the presidency into prison. Then you will need the work of Amnesty International.”

[Imam Baba Leigh is currently in the USA where he has been receiving medical treatment] 

‘This is Not Freedom … I’m Just in a Bigger Jail’: Imam Baba Leigh Takes us into his Gambian Nightmare – IBTimes UK.