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Resolution adopted unanimously by the IPU Council
at its 171st session (Geneva, 27 September 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/171/12(a)-R.1), and to the relevant resolution adopted at its 170th session (March 2002),

Taking account of a communication from one of the sources dated 4 September 2002,

Recalling that Mr. Omar Jallow was arbitrarily detained from October 1995 to 4 November 1996; he 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),

Considering that, according to information provided by one of the sources, two immigration officers visited Mr. Jallow on 22 March 2002 at his residence and informed him, without offering any explanation, that they had been instructed by the Director of Immigration to collect his passport; Mr. Jallow's lawyer repeatedly asked - to no avail - the said Director, the Attorney General and Secretary of State for Justice to return the passport; by decision of 8 July 2002, the High Court of the Gambia ordered the authorities to return the passport immediately to Mr. Jallow upon receipt of the order; the order has so far been ignored by the Secretary of State for Justice and Secretary of State for the Interior, so that Mr. Jallow cannot travel abroad,

Bearing in mind that the Gambia is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Article 2, paragraph 3, of which guarantees the right to an effective remedy for any person whose rights or freedoms under the Covenant have been violated, and enshrines the right to liberty and the right to compensation for anyone who has been the victim of unlawful arrest or detention, in its Article 9, paragraphs 1 and 5, respectively, and in its Article 12 the right to freedom of movement,

Recalling that the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action which the international community adopted at the World Conference on Human Rights in 1993 stipulate 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 that impunity itself constitutes a violation of international law,

  1. Is appalled to learn that the authorities have ignored a court order; recalls that failure to perform court orders constitutes contempt of court and undermines the very basis of the rule of law;

  2. Points out that the order issued by the High Court aims to ensure respect for the right to freedom of movement guaranteed under the Constitution of the Gambia and the ICCPR; strongly urges the authorities to implement the order without further delay by returning Mr. Jallow's passport; calls on Parliament to avail itself of its oversight function to ensure that the order is implemented without further delay;

  3. Deplores the lack of cooperation from the authorities, in particular the new Parliament, which may well compel it to conclude that, in failing to abrogate the constitutionally enshrined impunity, the authorities of the Gambia are guilty of a violation of Mr. Jallow's right to remedy for the arbitrary arrests and detention he suffered under AFPRC rule;

  4. Calls once again on Parliament to take action to remedy this situation, convinced as it is that Parliament is uniquely positioned to hasten a settlement in this case;

  5. 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;

  6. Requests the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session (April 2003).

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