CSAG Protest Letter to the African Commisssion on Human and Peoples’ Rights


catherine_dupe_atoki_thumb2Hon. Commissioner Dupe Atoki
African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights
31 Bijilo Annex Layout, Kombo North District
Western Region
The Gambia
Tel: (220) 441 05 05/ 441 05 06
Fax: (220) 441 05 04
E-mail: au-banjul@africa-union.org

20 March 2013

Madam Chairperson,

Re: Protest against holding sessions of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) in the Gambia where basics human rights are constantly violated with total impunity
We, the undersigned African and international non-governmental organisations would like to update the ACHPR on a decision we have taken to cease attending sessions of the ACHPR and NGOs forum so long as these activities continue to be hosted in the Gambia where blatant violations of Human rights continue to be committed by the authorities. You may recall that on 6 October 2012, the day that the continental African Human Rights body celebrated its 25th anniversary, in Yamoussoukro, Cote d’Ivoire, we made a collective declaration to the ACHPR through the African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies that The Gambia should be stripped off the privilege of hosting the ACHPR because it has betrayed the trust of its own citizens and the continent. The Gambia government has demonstrated that it is an unreliable partner and an unworthy host of the body established to protect and promote the rights of the African citizenry.

Madam Chair, the Gambian government has consistently shown total disrespect for fundamental rights enshrined in the African Charter. The inability and unwillingness of The Gambia to comply with the most basic obligation in the Headquarters Agreement makes its position as the host of the Commission untenable. We have documented several public threats from the Gambian Head of State against human rights advocates who are considered enemies of his regime. Human rights organisations, despite the appalling situation in The Gambia -exacerbated by the unlawful execution of nine (9) inmates in August 2012- continue to be cowed and feel unsafe to make public pronouncements on the human rights situation before your august Commission when its sessions are held in the Gambia.

The ACHPR has made important strides in the recent years, but its ability to legitimately protect human rights will considerably be hampered if it continues to be based in The Gambia, one of the most repressive countries on the continent.

We are profoundly disappointed that notwithstanding the ongoing violations of human rights, the ACHPR decided to hold its forthcoming session in The Gambia. Our decision to decline participation in the forthcoming session in Banjul expresses the depth of our disappointment. Unless there is a credible redress against the wilful and egregious assaults on the African Charter system by The Gambia, we are determined to launch a campaign hereby for the removal of the Headquarters of the African Commission from The Gambia.

We call on the ACHPR to cease having its sessions in The Gambia and heed our appeal to call on the leaders of the African Union to move the ACHPR to another country that is credible to host a continental human rights mechanism.

We remain as ever committed to supporting your mandate and contributing our quota for the advancement of human rights and respect of human dignity on the continent.
The undersigned

Burkina Faso

1. Festival International de la liberté d’expression (FILEP)
2. Mouvement Burkinabé des droits de l’homme (MBDH)

Cote d’Ivoire

3. Club Union Africaine CI


4. Civil Society Associations Gambia (CSAG)
5. Coalition for Change (CCG)
6. Save The Gambia Democracy Project (STGDP)

Liberia 7. Center for Media Studies and Peace Building (CEMESP)

8. Association mauritanienne des droits de l’homme (AMDH)
9. SOS Esclaves


10. Citizenship Rights in Africa Initiative (CRAI)
11. Coalition against impunity
12. Center for Democratic Development (CCD)
13. Institute for Media and Society
14. International Press Center (IPC)
15. Human and Environmental Development Agenda
16. Media Rights Agenda (MRA)


17. Action Humaine pour le Développement Intégré au Sénégal (AHDIS)
18. Conseil des ONG d’Appui au Développement (CONGAD)
19. Cicodev Afrique
20. Groupe Agora pour l’éducation aux droits et à la paix (GRA-REDEP)
21. Organisation Nationale des Droits de l’Homme (ONDH)

22. Ligue Sénégalaise des Droits de l’Homme(LSDH)
23. Rencontre Africaine pour les droits de l’homme (RADDHO)

Sierra Leone

24. Citizens for Constitutional Changes
25. Freedom of Information Coalition
26. Police Accountability Consortium
27. Society for Democratic Initiatives


28. . Africa Internally Displaced Persons Voice (Africa IDP Voice)

Regional and International Ngos

29. The African Editors Forum (TAEF)
30. African Media Initiative (AMI)
31. Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA)
32. Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA)
33. Panos Institute for West Africa (IPAO)
34. West Africa Journalist Association (WAJA)
35. West Africa Civil Society Forum (WACSOF)
36. ARTICLE 19
37. Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI)
38. International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)


All members of the ACHPR
Secretariat of the ACHPR
African Union Commission
African Union Permanent Representatives’ Committee (PRC)
The Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC)
African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights (ACDHRS)
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Secretariat
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission
Intergovernmental Authority on Development in Eastern Africa (IGAD)
The Economic Community of Central African States (CEEAC)
Pan African Parliament (PAP)
United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UN ECA)
United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA


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