Gambia: Ending impunity of past crimes must be part of human rights priorities for President Adama Barrow’s second term


In reaction to the re-election of President Adama Barrow over the weekend in the first election since the departure of Yahya Jammeh, Michèle Eken, Amnesty International West Africa researcher said:

“As he starts a second term in office, President Adama Barrow must tackle the huge challenge of ending impunity for human rights violations committed during the regime of former President Yahya Jammeh which starts with prosecuting alleged perpetrators in fair trials before criminal courts.
“The President’s agenda must also include the repeal of laws restricting freedom of expression and freedom of assembly which can still be liberally used to muzzle dissenting voices.
We regret that President Barrow did not sign Amnesty International’s seven-point human rights manifesto contrary to several other presidential candidates.
Michèle Eken, Amnesty International West Africa researcher.
“In addition to protecting freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and fighting impunity, the manifesto includes commitments to take a tougher stance on ending sexual, gender-based violence and discrimination towards women, to promote access to food, employment, education, housing and health, to adopt a national law prohibiting torture and to remove death penalty provisions from Gambia’s statute books.
‘’It’s not too late for the President to make this clear commitment to tackle these pressing issues and we urge him to do so.”
During the electoral campaign in November, Amnesty International delegates presented a seven-point human rights manifesto co-signed by 10 Gambian human rights organizations to as many political parties and candidates as possible.
Amnesty delegates met with eight political parties and candidates, seven of which signed the human rights manifesto including four presidential candidates.
Despite contacting President Barrow’s party multiple times by email, text and telephone, the delegation was unable to meet with them. Amnesty International sent the manifesto to them several weeks prior to election day but did not receive a response regarding the endorsement.
The commissioners of the Gambian Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission submitted their final report to President Adama Barrow on 25 November.
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Sainey M.K. Marenah
Mr. Sainey M.K. Marenah is a Prominent Gambian journalist, founding editor The Alkamba Times and formerly head of communications at the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) and Communications and PR Consultant for The Gambia Pilot Program, under Gamworks. Mr. Marenah served as the Social media Strategist and Editor at Gambia Radio and Television Services. He is also the Banjul Correspondent for Voice of America Radio. Sainey is a human rights and developmental journalist who has carved a strong niche particularly in new media environments in the Gambian media industry. Mr. Marenah began his career as a junior reporter with the Point Newspaper in the Gambia in 2008 and rose through the ranks to become Chief correspondent before moving to The Standard Newspaper also in Banjul as Editorial Assistant and head of News. He is a household name in the Gambia’s media industry having covered some of the most important stories in the former and current government. These include the high profile treason cases including the Trial of Former military chiefs in Banjul in 2009 to 2012. Following his arrest and imprisonment by the former regime of President, Yahya Jammeh in 2014, Marenah moved to Dakar Senegal where he continues to practice Journalism freelancing for various local and international Media organization’s including the BBC, Al-Jazeera, VOA, and ZDF TV in Germany among others. He is the co-Founder of the Banjul Based Media Center for Research and Development; an institution specialized in research and development undertakings. As a journalist and Communication Expert, focused on supporting the Gambia's transitional process, Mr Marenah continues to play a pivotal role in shaping a viable media and communications platform that engages necessary tools and action to increase civic participation and awareness of the needs of transitional governance to strengthen the current move towards democratization. Mr. Marenah has traveled extensively as a professional journalist in both Europe, Africa and United States and attended several local and international media trainings.


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