Gambia: Ban calls for release of detained protesters after death of opposition members

17 April 2016

Concerned about the apparent use of excessive force on peaceful demonstrators in Gambia, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on authorities to immediately and unconditionally release all those arrested during Thursday's protest.

In a statement from his spokesperson, the Secretary-General said he “learned with dismay” of the death of political activist and opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) member Solo Sandeng and two fellow party members.

Mr. Ban “calls on the authorities to conduct a prompt, thorough and independent investigation” into the circumstances surrounding the deaths. He also extended his “heartfelt condolences” to the families of the deceased.

Mr. Sandeng and two other UDP members died following their arrest on 14 April 2016 for participating in a peaceful protest in the capital city of Banjul, the statement noted.

The UN chief expressed deep concern about the apparent use of excessive force and the arrest and detention on that day. Among those still being detained is UDP leader, Ousainou Darboe.

Mr. Ban “calls on the authorities to immediately and unconditionally release all those arrested,” his spokesperson said, and “uphold the rights of the Gambian people to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.”

Last month, the UN Human Rights Council presented a report on proper preparations and precautions to protect the rights of the demonstrators, bystanders and police during public gatherings.

It discusses a wide range of rights impacted, and emphasized the State's obligation not only to protect, but also facilitate, the exercise of these rights.

 

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