Resolution adopted without a vote by the Inter-Parliamentary Council at its 160th session
(Seoul, 15 April 1997)

The Inter-Parliamentary Council,

Referring to the outline of the case, as contained in the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians (CL/160/14(a)-R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 159th session (September 1996) concerning the case of Mr. Mamadou Cadi Cham and Mr. Omar Jallow, members of the former House of Representatives of Gambia dissolved in 1994,

Taking into the consideration the information supplied by the sources on 11 March 1997,

Recalling that Mr. Cham and Mr. Jallow were arrested in October 1995 and held in a disused hangar at Fajara army barracks, near Banjul, without any charges having been brought against them; that they were reportedly denied visits by their families and had great difficulty in gaining access to their lawyers,

Recalling also that, according to the source, the authorities had stated that their arrest was due to their planning a demonstration in support of the return to power of former President Dawda Jawara,

Noting that, according to Gambian Law, Decree N° 57, any detainee has to be brought before a court within 90 days,

Bearing in mind that the Gambia is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, both of which guarantee the right to freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention,

Considering that Mr. Cham and Mr. Jallow were released in early November 1996,

Considering that, according to the sources, their passports have nevertheless been confiscated, that they are thus unable to travel abroad, and that even their movement within the country is restricted,

Considering that the authorities have never replied to the Committee's requests for information about the legal grounds of Mr. Cham's and Mr. Jallow's arrest and their conditions of detention,

Bearing in mind that a new Parliament was elected on 2 January 1997 and has assumed its functions,

  1. Expresses its relief at the release of Mr. Cham and Mr. Jallow;
  2. Regrets, however, the utter disregard shown by the authorities towards the repeated requests from an international body for information about the situation of two members of the Parliament dissolved in 1994;
  3. Can but infer from their silence that the allegations of the sources are indeed true and that Mr. Cham and Mr. Jallow are victims of a manifest violation of their human rights, in particular the right to freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention guaranteed under both the ICCPR (Article 9) and the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (Article 6), to both of which the Gambia is a party with the consequent duty of compliance;
  4. Stresses that their detention also violated national law, specifically Decree N° 57, requiring any detainee to be brought to trial within 90 days;
  5. Stresses that, under Article 9 of the ICCPR, " anyone who has been the victim of unlawful arrest or detention shall have an enforceable right to compensation " and that therefore, owing to the unlawful arrest and detention they suffered at the hands of officials acting under State authority, they are entitled to such compensation;
  6. Urges the authorities, pursuant to their obligations under the international human rights norms to which they have subscribed, to compensate Mr. Cham and Mr. Jallow for the human rights violations they have suffered;
  7. Expresses concern at the allegation that their passports are still confiscated, and that, with foreign travel thus ruled out, they may not even move freely within their own country;
  8. Wishes to ascertain the reasons for this measure and recalls that the Gambia is obliged to respect the right to freedom of movement and the right to leave one's own country, guaranteed by Article 12 of the ICCPR and Article 12 of the African Charter of Human and Peoples' Rights;
  9. Calls on the authorities of the Gambia to abide by the international human rights norms to which they have subscribed;
  10. Requests the Secretary General to convey these concerns and considerations to the competent authorities, including the President of the newly elected Parliament, and to invite them to take the necessary action;
  11. Also requests the Secretary General to bring the case to the attention of such international human rights bodies as may be able to take appropriate action;
  12. Requests the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians to continue examining the case and report to it at its next session (September 1997).

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