Banjul, 18 June 2018
IHRDA and Article 19 are concerned about media reports on the killing of two persons in a confrontation between protesters and members of the Gambia Police Force in Faraba Banta today, 18 June 2018.
IHRDA and Article 19 gathered that Bakary Kujabi and Ebrima Bah were killed and many others seriously injured during the dispute, concerning the exploitation of sand in the area.
We recognise the right of the public to protest as an element of their freedom of expression and assembly.
We appreciate the duty of the Gambia Police Force and other law enforcement agencies to uphold law and order, including by the use of force. Such force to be used must however be according to the rules of necessity and proportionality. Officers must be guided by the provisions of The Gambia’s domestic laws on the use of force by law enforcement officials, the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, and the African Commissions’ Guidelines on Policing Assemblies in Africa, defining conditions on the use of force and fire-arms.
We urge the government of The Gambia to carry out an effective and impartial investigation into the circumstances surrounding this incident, and to bring any offenders to account. This is in line with the obligations undertaken by the government under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, among other human rights treaties The Gambia is a party to.
We also urge the Gambian law enforcement agencies to exercise restraint in carrying out their duties of restoring law and order to Faraba Banta, and for the general public to express whatever grievances they have in accordance with the law.