Africa’s rights chief Tlakula urges peaceful election in Gambia

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Pansy Tlakula, chairwoman of African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights

Pansy Tlakula, the chairwoman of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, has urged Gambia government and the electoral authorities ensure free, fair and transparent elections when Gambians heads to polls on December 1.

Tlakula told a press conference on Friday at the closing day of the Commission’s two weeks human right forum that they have also sent a letter on Wednesday to the government raising concerns over some human rights issues in the country.

“… We are calling for a peaceful election that will produce a free and fair outcome and to ensure that the elections are conducted transparently,” Tlakula said.

“It important is to ensure that all the contesting parties are given the opportunity to campaign freely, given opportunity to express freely and then given their rights to freedom of association and assembly. It is also important to ensure that coverage of political parties that are contesting in the media is equitable… If all these tenets are observed, then the elections will be free and fair.”

Tlakula said the Commission has also raised concerns in their letter to the Government such as “unreasonable restriction of the media” and “arrest of opposition leader”.

“We wrote a letter to government of Gambia to bring to their attentions some of the concerns that were reported to us by victims of human rights violations…,” she said.

“These are concerns that have been in the public domain regarding the arrest of the leader of the opposition and also the death of two of the opposition members in the state custody and also some of the conditions under which the detainees are incarcerated, among others.”

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