August 21, 2019
The Working Group of the Music as a Messenger of Democracy project strongly condemns the arbitrary arrests of citizens in the Republic of the Gambia especially the arrest of Ali ‘Killa Ace’ Cham.
The Working Group, a West African network of civil society leaders, musicians and democratic movements who foster collaboration between musicians and activists to counter anti-democracy narratives, advance next generation civic engagement, and build solidarity among West African civil society, stand in support and solidarity with Ali ‘Killa Ace’ Cham. The Working Group condemns the arbitrary arrest and violation of the rights of citizens to freedom of expression, free speech and peaceful assembly by the state.
Article 2 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights explicitly states that, “Every individual shall be entitled to the enjoyment of the rights and freedoms recognized and guaranteed in the present Charter without distinction of any kind such as race, ethnic group, colour, sex, language, religion, political or any other opinion, national and social origin, fortune, birth or other status” while Part II of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights similarly states that, “Each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes to respect and to ensure to all individuals within its territory and subject to its jurisdiction the rights recognized in the present Covenant, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status”.
The Working Group calls on the democratically elected Government of the Republic of the Gambia, led by President Adama Barrow to respect the constitutional provisions which he swore to protect and uphold. The Group further charges the Gambia Anti-Crime Unit of the Gambia Police Force to respect the rights of citizens to freedom of expression, freedom from torture and ill treatment, free speech and peaceful assembly by the state.
The Africa we want is an Africa where democratic values, culture, practices, universal principles of human rights, gender equality, justice and the rule of law are entrenched.
#GambiaHasDecided Movement, Gambia
Team Gomsa Bopa, Gambia
The Togolese Civil League, Togo
Yen A’ Marre, Senegal
YIAGA AFRICA, Nigeria