Resolution adopted without a vote by the Inter-Parliamentary Council at its 161st session
(Cairo, 16 September 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/161/10(a)-R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 160th session (April 1997) concerning the case of Mr. Lamin Waa Juwara, of the Gambia,

Taking into consideration the communication from the Attorney General's Chamber and Department of State for Justice, dated 8 July 1997,

Also taking into consideration the information supplied by the sources on 27 May, 1 July and 5 September 1997,

Recalling that since the dissolution of Parliament in the wake of the military coup of 22 July 1994, Mr. Juwara, a member of the dissolved Parliament, has suffered continuous incidents of harassment, arbitrary arrest and incommunicado detention at the hands of State officials, the latest detention lasting from January 1996 until his release on 3 February 1997,

Recalling also that on no occasion has Mr. Juwara been charged and that no reasons have been given for his arrests and detention, save in one case,

Considering that, on 30 July 1997, Mr. Juwara filed a lawsuit in the High Court of the Gambia against the Attorney General, the Secretary of State for the Interior, the Inspector General of Police and the Director General of the National Intelligence Agency, claiming compensation for the human rights violations he has suffered,

Noting that, by letter dated 8 July 1997, the Attorney General's Chamber and Department of State for Justice conveyed a copy of the relevant writ of summons, stating that " since the case is sub judice, the issue of compensation will have to be stayed by your Committee, pending the outcome of the case before the national jurisdiction ",

Considering that a first hearing of the case took place on 15 July 1997; that it has been adjourned and will resume in October 1997,

Considering that, according to the source, the authorities have unjustifiably failed to issue Mr. Juwara with a passport and that he was thus prevented from attending a Conference abroad to which he had been invited,

Bearing in mind that the Gambia is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which guarantees the right to freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention, the right to freedom of movement and the right to compensation for anyone who has been the victim of unlawful arrest and detention,

1. Thanks the Attorney General and Secretary of State for Justice for having ensured that it received a reply to its various requests for information, and earnestly hopes that it may count on his future co-operation;

2. Notes that Mr. Juwara has a filed a lawsuit before the High Court of the Gambia requesting compensation for the many unlawful arrests and detentions he has suffered at the hands of officials acting under State authority;

3. Stresses once again that, under Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the Gambia is a party, " anyone who has been victim of unlawful arrest or detention shall have an enforceable right to compensation ";

4. Trusts that the Gambian judiciary will rule on this question in accordance with the international human rights norms to which it has subscribed, and wishes to be kept informed of progress made in the relevant proceedings before the High Court;

5. Is concerned that Mr. Juwara has not been issued a passport, apparently without any reason being given, and has thus been prevented from attending a Conference abroad, and urges the authorities to issue him a passport without further delay, as is their duty;

6. Requests the Secretary General to convey this resolution to the competent authorities of the Gambia inviting them, in the light of the above, to take the necessary action;

7. Requests the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians to continue examining the case and report to it at its next session (April 1998).

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