By Edrissa Jallow
The Deputy Secretary-General of Amnesty International KM Group, Mr Modou O Sey, revealed to members of the press that only one country has signed their seven-point scope which they recommended to some fifty-three countries. In an exclusive interview with Amnesty International’s Mr Sey on Friday 9th December 2022, he informed our journalist that the Gambia has been served with the seven-point scope since 2017 soon after President Adama Barrow came into office, however, the document is still yet to be signed.
Amnesty International’s seven-point scope calls for states to abolish the death penalty, adopt a law prohibiting torture and end sexual and gender-based violence amongst other demands. Although the Gambia is yet to sign the seven-point scope, only one country has signed the document in the same year the Gambia was served the seven-point human rights demands.
“Liberia is the only country that signed the seven [point] scope and the signature came immediately after their recent election ,” said Mr Sey.
Upon hearing this, our reporter asked Mr Sey if all fifty-three states were served the same seven-point scope. In response, Mr Sey explained that countries “have a different point of scope because considering we have different issues happening in all these countries,” and The Gambia “might be specified in the less crime-oriented countries”.
The seven-point scope which was submitted to the Government in 2017 calls on the Gambia government to;
- Respect, Protect, Promote & Fulfil (Freedom of Expression)
- Respect, Protect & Ensure Freedom of Assembly
- End Impunity
- End Sexual, Gender-Based Violence & Discrimination Towards Women
- Promote Economic, Social & Cultural Rights
- Adopt A Law Prohibiting Torture and
- Abolish Death Penalty.
Amnesty International published a reaction to President Adama Barrow’s re-election and his reluctance to sign the seven-point human rights manifesto. In a publication on their official website Amnesty International West Africa Researcher, Michèle Eken is quoted saying: “we regret that President Barrow did not sign Amnesty International’s seven-point human rights manifesto contrary to several presidential candidates”.
However, more recently during the 2022 State of the Nation Address, President Barrow told Parliamentarians that the Ministry of Justice “is committed to the construction of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights Headquarters as part of Government’s contribution towards hosting the Secretariat. Its purpose is to transform The Gambia into the Capital of human rights promotion”.
During the exclusive interview, our reporter asked Mr Sey when The Gambia was served Amnesty International’s seven points scope. Mr Sey explained that the Gambia government was served the document in 2017 shortly after the presidential election through the Office of the President in connection with the Ministry of Justice.
“They [countries] have a different point of scope because considering we have different issues happening in all these countries,” and the “Gambia — government is yet to sign this document,” said Amnesty International’s Mr Sey.
Pressing on to ascertain how much effort had been made by the International Organisation to get states to sign the document, our reporter asked how much follow-ups have been done to bring them to the table and sign the dotted lines. It’s worth noting that Amnesty International had made a number of trips to the Gambia since 2017 and met President Adama Barrow. One would anticipate they could have seized the opportunity to engage the government to sign the document.
Amnesty International: Key human rights concerns highlighted in a meeting with President Barrow
In response to this question, Mr Sey explained that no follow-ups had been done since 2017. When asked the reason why he reasoned that “Amnesty International is a body that is recognized worldwide because they are serious in what they are doing, so if they put things to you if you don’t take it, they will keep on advocating” this he said is the reason why no follow-ups were done with the government.