Drop Charges Against Gunjur Youth Environmental Activists Immediately!!!!
Alagi Yorro Jallow
Fatoumatta: Among the men and women, the multitude of Gambians, urging the authorities to immediately drop all charges against the three Gunjur environmental youth activists, the protest, which are based on the Constitution for Freedom of Peaceful Assembly. According to sources, police today charged the three Gunjur environment activists with incitement to violence, criminal trespass and conspiracy to commit crime.
Fatoumatta: The use of such repressive laws is not unfamiliar to the Gambia, as it was widely used by the authorities to suppress political activists and dissenters during the regime of Yahya Jammeh. The fact that it is still used by the pro-democracy-led Government is particularly alarming as the country claims to be committed to democracy and respecting the voice of the people. The use of force and violence by the police against protesters is another sign of shrinking civic space. And it contradicts the 1997 Constitution that provides for the freedom of peaceful assembly, although police permits were required for public gatherings, but the government at times restricted the freedom of peaceful assembly.
Fatoumatta: The protests by the environmental activists which have served as a basis for persecution began on when Gunjur youth activists staged protests to demand better security, an end to economic and environmental woes, the protection of the rights of the people of Gunjur beach by Golden Lead, a Chinese owned company. Demonstrations have continued despite the Golden Lead continue violations of the Gunjur environment and the failure of the government not to address the situation surrounding Golden Lead company environmental annihilation.
The multitude of Gambians once again denounce these outrageous actions of the government and calls for an immediate end to the persecution of peaceful youth environment activists, and citizens. We call on the government to drop all charges against Gunjur youths and release them immediately.
Fatoumatta: We also call on the international community, including the African Union and the ECOWAS member States, to take swift action to address the curtailing of civil and political rights in the Gambia by ensuring the re-establishment of democratic practices that the country committed to as a signatory to the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights Charter.
Fatoumatta: Finally, the government of the Gambia must restore the dignity of all Gambian citizens by immediately respecting their rights to freedom of speech, association, and peaceful assembly as articulated in the African Union Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human and People’s Rights. Rather than undermine these and other human rights, the government of the Gambia should recognize its state duty to protect its citizens’ rights to liberty and security of person and their rights to protest peacefully in opposition to environmental annihilation in their communities.