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Resolution adopted without a vote by the IPU Council
at its 170th session (Marrakech, 23 March 2002)

The Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Referring to the outline of the case of Mr. Omar Jallow of the Gambia, as contained in the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians (CL/170/13.c(ii)-R.1), and to the relevant resolution adopted at its 169th session (September 2001),

Taking into consideration information provided by one of the sources on 5 November 2001 and 14 January 2002,

Recalling that Mr. Omar Jallow was arbitrarily detained from October 1995 to 4 November 1996; that his repeated petitions to the President of the Republic seeking compensation for the suffering so endured have been to no avail; that Mr. Jallow has abandoned his claim for compensation on account of Section 13 of Schedule 2 to the 1997 Constitution, which grants immunity from prosecution for all office-holders of the former Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council (AFPRC),

Recalling that the Gambia is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 2, paragraph 3, of which guarantees the right to an effective remedy of any person whose rights or freedoms under the Covenant have been violated, "notwithstanding that the violation has been committed by persons acting in an official capacity", and enshrines the right to liberty and the right to compensation of anyone who has been the victim of unlawful arrest or detention in its Article 9, paragraph 1 and 5, respectively,

Bearing in mind that the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action which the international community adopted at the World Conference on Human Rights in 1993 stipulates that "States should abrogate legislation leading to impunity for those responsible for grave violations of human rights such as torture and prosecute such violations, thereby providing a firm basis for the rule of law"; bearing in mind also that impunity itself constitutes a violation of international law,

Recalling finally that Decree 89, on the strength of which Mr. Jallow was disqualified indefinitely from participating in any political activity, was repealed in August 2001 and that he has since been able to resume his political activities,

  1. Is outraged that, five and a half years after Mr. Jallow was subjected to a whole year in arbitrary detention, there remain - in plain contravention of the Gambia's obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights - legal impediments to holding accountable those who arbitrarily detained him, and to its affording him his right to legal redress and compensation;
  2. Reaffirms that Parliament is uniquely positioned to lay the foundations for the fight against impunity by establishing an effective legal framework for the purpose and by ensuring that the executive branch complies with such legislation, in addition to its international obligations in this field;
  3. Forcefully calls therefore upon the Parliament of the Gambia to assume these responsibilities to the full by amending legal provisions which run counter to international law and by ensuring respect for the human rights of all citizens, including Mr. Jallow;
  4. Requests the Secretary General to convey this resolution to the parliamentary and governmental authorities and to Mr. Jallow, and also to the competent United Nations human rights bodies, the Commonwealth Secretariat and the European Parliament;
  5. Requests the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session (September 2002).

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