Wednesday, February 4, 2015

GAMCOTRAP urges government to outlaw FGM





GAMCOTRAP, women ’s rights NGO working in the area of women and girls has urges the Government of the Gambia to escalate the gains already made in the advocacy by enacting a specific law against FGM.
In a press release issued ahead of the celebration of Zero Tolerance on FGM, GAMCOTRAP said the call is a popular demand from the population who is aware of the negative effects of FGM on women’s health and well-being.
GAMCOTRAP who have been very active and effective in stopping FGM will join the rest of the world to commemorate Zero Tolerance Day on FGM on Saturday. This year’s celebration marked the twelfth commemoration of the International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting.
Zero Tolerance Day originated on Feb. 6, 2003, when the first lady of Nigeria, Mrs. Stella Obasanjo, officially declared “Zero Tolerance to FGM” in Africa during a conference organised by the Inter-African Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children, a non-governmental network headquartered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Since then, this day has been observed around the world.
The theme for 2012 is: “Mobilization and Involvement of Health Personnel to Accelerate Zero Tolerance for FGM.”

“February 6th 2015 is yet another day celebrating an important event calling the attention of the whole world the aim to end violence against women and girl –children,” the statement reads. “The theme is very relevant and important for the health sector to engage in the advocacy to end FGM and promote the sexual and reproductive health rights of women and girl-children.”

Benin: Three journalists banned from presenting news


 
Three journalists at Benin’s state broadcaster, Office de Radiodiffusion et Television du Benin (ORTB), have been banned from presenting on the television station’s 8pm broadcast.
 
Ozias Sounouvou, Prévert Noutèhou and Renaud Acakpo told MFWA’s correspondent in Benin that there was an “order from above that their names should be removed from the list of news presenters for the 20 hours news broadcast”. The order was posted in the editorial room February 1, 2015.
 
The ban of the three journalists follows a statement made by another presenter, Ozias Sounouvou, during the 11:30pm edition on January 12.
 
While presenting the news, Sounouvou called out the President of Benin, Yayi Boni, for participating in a press freedom march in Paris following the Charlie Hebdo attacks while in his own country, people cannot exercise the right to freedom of expression.

Monday, December 1, 2014

SABALLY FINALLY GOES HOME



 
Momodou Sabally
The Standard-Two days after he was granted bail by a high court judge, Momodou Sabally, the former secretary general and minister of presidential affairs has finally been released from Mile 2 Central Prison last evening.
Earlier yesterday his lawyer, Antouman Gaye, confirmed  to The Standard . “Yes, he is [still] in custody because we are still trying to fulfill the bail conditions.”  
Sabally, 40, was granted bail on Tuesday, four months and three weeks after he was arrested for allegedly causing economic loss to the state.
He was to be released on bail on furnishing a personal bond in the sum of D1.5 million with one surety for the like amount to the satisfaction of the court.

Rural poverty in The Gambia


Rural women deserve more than simple recognition



Standard.gm-The most vulnerable groups in the rural parts of The Gambia are women, children and the elderly, as well as ethnic minorities who live in remote areas. The majority of these women continue to play a subservient role. Despite being the hardest hit, they contribute to the well-being of their families and the development of rural economies. 
And despite their efforts in providing food for their family, they have little or no say in the way the family spends its income. Women form more than 50 percent of the Gambian population and yet they are the poorest. 
Like women all over the world, most Gambian women must work as a matter of economic necessity, combining motherhood and child care with labour in the fields, or working as household domestic, market vendors and traders. 
The Gambia remains predominantly agricultural. The increasing migration of rural male labourers to urban areas has sharply extended the feminisation of rural labour and agriculture. Subsistence farming is largely a female activity owing to the historical migration of men to the towns. This is a trend that is still going on. Like in many of the world's poorer countries, these women play a vital role in the rural economy. They are involved in crop production and livestock care, provide food and water for their families, and carry out other activities to diversify their families' livelihood. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Zeid criticizes harsh legal amendment, violence and arrests targeting gay men and lesbians in The Gambia



UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein on Thursday criticized a recent amendment to the Criminal Code of The Gambia that creates a broad and vague offence of "aggravated homosexuality" punishable by He also expressed alarm at reports of a wave of arbitrary arrests and detention of individuals perceived to be homosexual in The Gambia.

The amendment to the Criminal Code was approved by the National Assembly earlier this year and signed into law by the President on 9 October 2014. It targets, among others, so-called "serial offenders" (meaning individuals with a previous conviction for homosexuality), persons living with HIV, and consensual same-sex partners of persons with disabilities – all of whom could be imprisoned for life. The new law replicates a section of the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Act denounced by the former High Commissioner for Human Rights, the UN Secretary-General and the African Commission Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders.

“This law violates fundamental human rights – among them the right to privacy, to freedom from discrimination and freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention. It adds to the stigma and abuses that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people already face in The Gambia,” High Commissioner Zeid said.

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Gambia: UN human rights team prevented from completing torture and killing investigations



The United Nations Special Rapporteurs Christof Heyns and Juan Méndez have been prevented from completing a torture and killing investigation during the first visit ever to The Gambia by experts of the independent fact-finding mechanism of the Human Rights Council Special Procedures.

The two UN human rights experts carried out an official mission* to the country to examine the current level of protection of the right to life in law and in practice, and assess the situation and identify challenges regarding torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in The Gambia, among other things. 

In a remarkable and encouraging step, the Gambian Government invited the two UN Special Rapporteurs earlier this year to conduct a joint visit from 3 to 7 November 2014.

Unfortunately, and despite a written agreement accepting the Terms of Reference of the two mandates, once the investigators arrived, the Government denied them access to certain sections of the first prison the two mandate holders attempted to visit. They offered instead a guided tour to parts of the prison, informing that under no circumstances would they be allowed to visit the Security Wing, where inter alia the death row prisoners are held.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Journalist imprisoned after criticizing president

CPJ-A journalist in Sierra Leone has been imprisoned after criticizing President Ernest Bai Koroma's handling of the Ebola outbreak, according to news reports and local journalists. David Tam Baryoh was arrested on Monday.
Baryoh, host of the popular weekly "Monologue" radio program aired on the independent Citizen FM, was arrested in his office by police who did not have a warrant, according to news reports and local journalists. Baryoh was initially detained overnight at the Police Criminal Investigation headquarters in the capital, Freetown, where he met briefly with his lawyer, local journalists told CPJ. He was not allowed to see his wife.
Local journalists said they believed Baryoh's arrest to be in connection with the November 1 "Monologue" show, which was taken off the air during its live broadcast, Kelvin Lewis, president of Sierra Leone's Association of Journalists, told CPJ. In that show, Baryoh interviewed an opposition party spokesman who criticized Koroma and his government's handling of the Ebola outbreak, local journalists said. Baryoh and the party spokesman also criticized Koroma's intention to run for a third term in office, according to news reports. During the program, Baryoh also interviewed Vice-President Samuel Sam-Sumana, whose relationship with Koroma has soured, according to local press reports.