Gambia: UN monitors denied prison access as they condemn ‘consistent practice’ of torture
Gambia has again demonstrated its blatant disregard for human rights by stopping a UN team from investigating allegations of torture and extrajudicial killings in the country, Amnesty International said today.
The UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns, and the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment, Juan Méndez, were denied access to detention centres where prisoners are believed to be at high risk of torture.
“The UN’s human rights monitors have confirmed what we have long been saying, describing torture as a ‘consistent practice’ in Gambia, with authorities repressing perceived dissent with brutal force. Denying monitors access to the country’s prisons can only suggest that the authorities have something to hide,” said Stephen Cockburn, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for West and Central Africa.
The blocked visit comes just weeks after Gambia was heavily criticized for its human rights record during its Universal Periodic Review at the United Nations (UN).
“Following stinging criticism by more than 62 countries at the UN last month, this blocked visit must serve to mobilize international pressure on Gambia to end its use of torture to muzzle dissent. Such flagrant flouting of international human rights law should be impossible to ignore,” Cockburn added.
Gambia initially accepted the UN officials’ terms of reference but then denied them access to certain prison areas. These include the security wing of ‘Mile 2’ prison in the capital Banjul where death row inmates are detained, often in solitary confinement for lengthy periods, and subjected to torture.
The UN team also criticized Gambia’s renewed use of the death penalty.
“Gambia’s record on the death penalty also represents a backwards step. Having made no use of the ultimate cruel and inhuman punishment for 27 years, its resumption in 2011 is another stain on Gambia’s human rights record,” Stephen Cockburn said.
Source Amnesty International
First of all let me state that I have put it on record that Mile 2 Prison should be closed, demolished (during the on-line debate on Chongan’s book). And, to be sure, I ended in the Police Van inside Mile 2 – while the police dropped some poor inmates and took me to the cell at Serrerkunda Police Station (Thank PDOIS for highlighting my UNLAWFUL Detention then).
That said, I believe United States own Prison ANGOLA, where they lock up their Dangerous Black Men in their thousands is WORSE than Mile 2. In Mile 2 at least there is the HUMANITY of man to man. The US prison system is one of animal to animal behaviour from both inmates and the State (guards). Obama knew this as a Black Activist – and forgot it when he became President. The Civil Rights Icon Angela Davis is still fighting this cause in the USA – and she might be wondering WHY THE UN IS NOT VISITING AMERICAN JAILS TOO!
Sorry, just a thought!
Dida Suun gangi, will you also say that in this US prison called Angola, inmates are forced to keep a bucket with themselves in tiny cells and use it as a toilet anytime nature calls for it. They then stay with their own feces for the whole night in cellitory confinement?? This is what is said to be happening in Mile 2 by Former inmates including Bai Lowe who was not even a convicted criminal but a military detainee who was never charged with any crime.
Inhumanity for one & any for that matter is unjust & never justifiable, Gambia & other states are accounted & probed independently, hence account & prosecute states accordingly, I’m not sure there are political kidnappings, enforced disappearances & murdering in US just based on difference of opinions & or discuss of affairs of state, which are & must be concern for Gambians, friends & internal community at large…..
Lafia, I know that – they had ONE piss-bucket for me and all the other 30 people in that small Serrekunda Police Cell. Appallingly isn’t it? But yet, all the people in that cell were incredibly nice and CARING to each other – that is my point about humanity.
Bajaw said: ” … I’m not sure there are political kidnappings, enforced disappearances & murdering in US just based on difference of opinions & or discuss of affairs of state …”
Bajaw, in UK, USA & the so-called democratic world we are much smarter than the Banana Republic Dictators. That is why we leave you and our other citizens ” … not sure …”!!! Luntango ain’t sure either (lol).
Yaya jammeh assassin les peuples gambien il faut révolution comme Burkina
Wow! That is incredibly inhumane Dida. I am sorry that my country and government had to put you through that. It is shameful, to be honest.
I am not sure if that come out right but I meant to say I am sorry my country and govt put Dida through that inhumane treatment.
Actually it was incredibly EDUCATIVE, Lafia … and to be sure many more people, WHO DID NOT have the British High Commissioner and PDOIS/GPU visit them at Serrekunda Police Station, suffered far worse.
The British High Commissioner and I were making jokes about the toilet, and he asked what I needed and I told him “mosquito cream” and he went and got it! But the point is that I was a high profile British citizen who had not done anything against the law – so there was no fear. Could not say the same for many many Gambians in that cell and Mile 2 who also had not committed any crime. I learnt A LOT that I did not know about Jammeh’s Gambia.
After that, I was something of a HERO in Serrekunda. I couldn’t walk through the market without people shaking my hand and greeting me – because they all knew that I had publicly DISSED the man whose pictures are on FREEDOMNEWSPAPER today being thrown out of a Dakar Hotel.
So it was really nothing, Lafia – and as you can see PDOIS do do a lot of good work (though they do waffle on too much too! LOL)
Dida, citizens, friends & or other nationals, inhumanity isn’t justifiable. In US & UK, governments aren’t hostile, barbaric & murderous upon their own indigenous citizens, inhabitants & friends…? The West may inhibit hostile foreign policy but are accountable to greater extent to their own citizenry domestically. This lacks in Gambia & other despotic places world over…. Every country should be accounted on own merits which is appalling in Gambia under murderous yaya Jammeh.
Indeed Bajaw, if you recall from our past debate, I am MOST APPALLED by those who treat Africans brutally and then claim to be Pan-Africanists: what hearts is not what enemies do to us; it is what we do to ourselves; to our own.
Pdois’s waffling Dida lol! Check out from coming article on waffling.
Indeed Dida, you were high profile British citizen, done nothing wrong but got incarcerated, not to mention same for ordinary Gambians, as you also acknowledged, very powerless Gambians & other nationals”luntangolu” like yourself, with no one to turn for except family on their behalf, for yaya Jammeh is deceitful & barbarically murderous…. Despite living in West, the Gambia is ALL Gambians got to live for……. we owe it from ancestors to our children & generations, hence Gambian issues are prioritised points of reference & reflection upon issues for improvement of political suffering which is sustained by one murderous tyrant bent on murdering innocent because of opinion………… .
Absolutely Bajaw. Amadou Samba will be waking up in his plush Dakar Hotel (Le President?) today having got just a tiny taste of the treatment his fellow countrymen face daily. Those are amazing photos of Gambia’s most powerful man being carried like a bag of rice. Real sign of “Things Falling Apart … The Centre Cannot Hold” – Chinua Achebe.
Dida, you haven’t seem nothing. People are sick and tired of what going on everyday in the country.
Sure Dida, not best of times for tyranny, as will always be for injustice threatens peace & stability everywhere which makes it matters of concerned for all…. We can only live peacefully side by side in just & realistically operational communities, with governments & state functions based on judicious dispensations of affairs of state…. Far from what obtains in Gambia today under our murderous kanilai Satan Lucifer…… The Gambia too will come around, just matter of when…..
God bless Gambia, Ameen.