Friday, March 11, 2011

ACHPR Commission Condemns the Use of Force in Libya

Musa Ngary Bittaye, commissioner at the African Commission for Human and People’s Rights has condemned the use of force by Libyan authorities against the anti-government protesters.
Bittaye who is also a legal practitioner made these remarks to this reporter at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court shortly after the trial of the ex- High Court Judge, Moses Richard.
The ACHPR, he said has expressed a grave concern over the situation in some North African countries recently at their 9th extra ordinary session held in Banjul.
According to him, all organs of the AU are monitoring the situation very closely in terms of protecting the human rights of its citizen and right to peaceful protest.
“We very much regret the use of force on any peaceful demonstration of any of state parties of the African Union,” he said.
“Peaceful assembly, freedom of expression and access to information are all rights of freedom that are guaranteed under the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights of which all state signatories to charter should meet their obligation under the charter,” Bittaye added.
Mr. Bittaye however, declined to comment when asked to elaborate on the current situation of human rights in The Gambia.
 He said he can only comment on the countries he is in charge of which are: Ghana, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Mauritius and Zimbabawe.
 “The basic principle as a commissioner, you don’t make comments about your country. A fellow commissioner is responsible for the Gambia. I am not allowed to say anything about The Gambia, because of what is call incompatibility,” he explained.
Commissioner Bittaye stressed that the fundamental rights of citizens, rule of law are crucial fundamental pillars in which democracy and progress is built by the state parties that subscribe to protection of fundamental rights and freedom of its citizens.
“The mandate that the AU gave the Africa Charter is promotion and the protection of its citizens and that has to be respected,” he said.
He said the charter has now got its own court decision.

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