Banjul, 28 August 2019: IHRDA is saddened by news of the passing-away of The Gambia’s first President, Alhaji Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara, on 27 August 2019.
We remember Sir Dawda Jawara as an African Statesman who contributed relentlessly to the development and adoption of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ (also called the Banjul Charter), and the selection of Banjul, The Gambia as host for the Secretariat of the African Commission of Human and Peoples’ Rights. The said Charter and Commission today constitute the foundation for the promotion and protection of human rights in Africa. We celebrate his legacy, especially his respect for human rights and democratic principles, and his restraint to act in illegality to oust his successor, Yahya Jammeh, as President of The Gambia, even though the latter forced him out of office through a coup d’état.
We would always remember his famous case before the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Communication 147/95-149/96: Sir Dawda K. Jawara / Gambia), which is reputed to be the most cited case decided by the said Commission, and still remains a precedent-setter, especially on exhaustion of local remedies.
We commit to upholding his legacy for an Africa where there is respect for the values and principles of human rights and democracy.
We extend our deepest condolences to his family and to the people of the Republic of The Gambia.