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Gambia: Leading Gambian rights, gender defender denounces government

Wednesday 20 October 2010, by siawi2,-gender-defender-denounces-government-2010102058755.html

Dakar - Pana 20/10/2010

Dakar, Senegal - Mrs. Amie Joof Cole, the Gambian-born Director of Inter-African Network for Women, Media, Gender and Development (FAMEDEV), based in Dakar, on Monday denounced Gambian authorities for arresting two prominent gender activists — Dr. Isatou Touray, Executive Director and Amie Bojang Sissoho, Programme Coordinator of Gambia Committee for Traditional Practices (GAMCOTRAP), PANA reported from here.

The FAMEDEV Director was addressing a press conference, organized by ’Coalition for Human Rights in The Gambia’ in collaboration with regional and international human rights organizations held here.

According to her, there is more to the issue than what the Gambian authorities alleged against the two detained ladies.

She said the Gambian government, under normal circumstances, would have ’no business’ between two non-governmental organizations that ’have signed a contract.

’So, why should Gambia’s Presidential Office be evidently interested in this case when the relevant body, The Association of Non-Governmental Organization (TANGO) is there?’ Cole asked.

The FAMEDEV Director further explained that the arrest and continued detention of the two famous GAMCOTRAP officials were based on ’an executive order’ from President Yahya Jammeh’s office and was politically-motivated.

She said human rights groups would not rest until ’justice is done in this case’ and that the rights of the two ladies were ensured and protected.

Cole also hinted a possible legal action against the Gambian government and all those behind the arrest and detention of the gender activists.

Dr. Touray and Amie were arrested and detained on 11 October by Gambian security forces and later remanded for a week by a magistrate court.

The press conference was organized in collaboration with rights groups such as: Organisation Nationale des Droits de l’Homme (ONDH),International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), Rencontre Africaine pour le Défense Des Droits de l’Homme (RADDHO), West African Journalists Association (WAJA) and Amnesty International, Section Senegal.