A leading women’s rights organisation has expressed concern about the torture meted out to four women currently in state custody. In a statement, Gambia Committee for the Elimination of Harmful Traditional Practices (Gamcotrap) called for the release of all those detained in relation to peaceful marches on April 14th and 16th.
Find below Gamcotrap’s full statement:
The Current Human Rights Situation of Women in Prison in Exercise of their Political and Civic Rights in The Gambia
The plight of five women of the leading opposition party UDP held in custody since the 14th and 16th of April 2016 is of great concern to women’s rights activists and organisations. Three of the women namely Ms, Fatou Camara, Ms Fatoumata Jawara and Ms Nogoi Njai were picked up during a peaceful demonstration demanding for political reforms held on the 14th April 2016; while Ms Fanta Darboe was picked up on the 16th April 2016 during a solidarity march, while Ms Juguna Suso was said to have been arrested at the gate of the main opposition party leader, Lawyer Ousainou Darboe’s residence.
While GAMCOTRAP cannot give details of the case, however we have been intimated that these women are being traumatised on a daily basis. They have been reported to be in very critical situation as a result of brutal torture of various types while in custody. In their statements, these women reported that they have been subjected to physical assaults such as beating, strapping them tight with ropes to immobilise them while they are being tortured and threatened with rape, resulting to serious injuries that require urgent medical attention. The cases are now in court and heard separately as two cases:
The State Vs Lamin Sonko and 24 others, 14th April 2016 and the second being
The State Vs Ousainou Darboe and 19 Others, 16th April 2016.
As the presidential election slated for December 2016 draws nearer, the state is becoming more intolerant and repressive and the country is in a dire situation. The security forces, especially the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), have been noted to act against civilians in their custody with impunity.
We are concerned that the human rights of these women are being abused and that they are going through mental, physical and psychological torment and torture. We urgently call for their immediate release from unlawful detention and that they are granted access to medical services. Members of their families and their legal representatives should be allowed to have access to them while in custody.
Similarly, over 30 people associated with the peaceful protest marches, many of whom are also brutally tortured, are in their custody. There are some detainees who have not been brought to court. We demand that they be released or brought to the court as the others. The citizenry are denied any form of expression of solidarity towards a group or to organise themselves to raise issues about human rights and fundamental freedom of the people. Freedom of assembly as enshrined in the constitution of The Gambia is denied, and the security forces are encouraged to terrorise the population. Numerous roadblocks are set up on the road to the capital, Banjul especially on the days of the court hearings to avert or discourage any manifestation of public support to the detainees. Armed para military officers and other security officers line up to deter people from entering or getting close to the court house where the cases are being heard. This did not deter public support but has hindered the efforts of many others who want to go and give support.
As a women’s right organisation working on the cultural, social, political and sexual and reproductive rights and health of women in The Gambia we are very concerned and we kindly urge your institution to condemn the atrocities and put pressure on the state to release all these people whose rights are being abused in exercise of their fundamental constitutional rights as citizens.
Just out from Gambia. What I saw with my own eyes , is a gov’t in disarray and bankrupt. Nervous young soldiers manning the streets trying to frustrate UDP supporters showing solidarity with their leadership.
All Gambian especially the other opposition heads must go out into the streets to show solidarity. Gamcotrap is an example.
Fact is no matter how long it takes to hang onto power, what I saw in Gambia, this gov’t and people manning it have no future in the Gambia. THe death of Solo Sandeng has awakened gambians. His dead must no go without a far reaching consequence.
Tomorrow will surely come and it is better late than NEVER.
We take note.
A very sensible call indeed, Isatou Touray; whosoever predatorily kidnaps people, much more, maltreated, tortured & raped women, DON’T deserve any place of standing in (a) society; yaya jammeh & it’s DEVILISH cohorts & advocates’ “decent place” in societies, is (belongs) behind bars if (they are lucky to be) alive; or (be) executed & buried down under (the earth); (for) they don’t worth the resources to be (spent) wasted for their upkeep in prison for (the) rest of their lives…..
If (my) memory serves (me) well; yaya jammeh’s DEVILLING advocates of inhumanity, (who were) picked to face the International Community Representatives (who are) sent to deliver messages on the resent disturbances of peace & legitimate rights of Gambians (& all humans), comprised of 7 mercenaries-cum ministers; of 4 females & 3 males…..
Where one of the (female) International Representatives speaking in (a) ‘diplomatic (tone) language’, sarcastically “applauded” the kanilai KILLER DEVIL’s (so-called proclaimed) “strides in (pretentiously) championing & advancing women rights & causes” in the Murderous Oppressive BANDITRY appointments & in country (meant for devilish image laundering purposes ONLY); (whilst in REALITIES, defenseless women are at the forefront, at (the) receiving ends of the barbarities of the kanilai PREDATORY DEVIL); the message indeed got home; wherein (in the end) these selected ministerial-Wenches could only resort to acknowledging & “noted points of concerns raised” in face saving responses….
Any of those WENCHES (defendant) representatives of yaya jammeh’s Murderous Oppressions & Humanity Crimes, (can) imaginatively step in the (our) rape-tortured kidnapped comrades’ shoes, or imagine their siblings & children in their places….???
Selfish untruthful Gambians, without decent or any moral conscience, can all choose to ostrich-bury their heads in sands in denial; twisting tales & acting dramas, for selfish aggrandizements individually, partisan or otherwise; in continuous aid abetting (of) our collective communal predicaments, if not for their selfish gains above the community only…..?/
Truth is; the Gambia can NEVER be a decent place for any human beings; citizens & other nationals, (as) long as yaya jammeh continues in charge of affairs….
We must fight & liberate Gambia now; or complacently drag on, whilst loosing more lives; (&) ONLY eventually to resort fighting in end; sooner or later, all will come to accept, there CAN’T be any other alternatives, which all will come to realize subsequently….
It is good to hear from Gamcotrap also in this fight. Jammeh spare no one . His militia and NIA has no boundaries . They killed babes , raped women , tortured underage children . Gamcotrap should join UDP women in this fight . Every decent Gambian must join as that is the only way we can have victory . At the end of the day , the victory belongs to all Gambians including Aprc . Jammeh must go now . As he begin his tour tomorrow , resistant must be shown across the country by not showing up to his meeting . We must call our families in The Gambia to encourage them to stay in their homes as the tyrant begin his tour . Effort to plant ied’s on the road side must continue as it is the effective way to get rid of him .
It is time all civil society organizations like GAMCOTRAP to join the Protesters on the streets and not only to give Press statement.The Gambian people will remember those who stood with them in their moment of NEED.
The addition of the voice of Gamcotrap is very encouraging. I hope.other organisations (professional and civil) will also raise their voices to condemn the rule of impunity in the country.
This struggle transcends politics and the political divide and like PDOIS stated, all hands must be on deck. The brunt of the regime’s transgression, for whatever reasons, may be against the UDP, but the struggle is a national one and must remain so.
Divisive elements, calling themselves patriots or whatever, must never be allowed to succeed because, though we may be on the same side with them, we don’t seem to share the same values, as evidenced by their attitudes here.
May Allah (SWT) grant the PEACE LOVING NATION of The Gambia, victory against Yaya Jammeh’s oppression and all other manifestations of anti-Gambian values, from whomever.. Amen
Look at you now , you must have dementia or memory lost . Are you not the very one who blamed the peaceful protesters and claimed it was poorly planned and messy . You can’t stop to amaze me . Please for God sake just indicate which side you are with . I know for sure , you are not on our side we the oppressed people . Stop being a mole or a spy for Jammeh . You and your fellow confused disciples are all spies for Jammeh . You cannot be trusted .
Max…Gamcotrap, in case you fail to notice, is not calling for demonstrations. The organisation is merely voicing its disagreement with the rule of impunity and calling for the respect of people’s rights.
It is you that does not understand issues properly, so you arrive at the wrong conclusions. I have no problem with the position and approach of Gamcotrap, as a women’s health affairs organisation.