Gambia Human Rights

Human Rights Concerns

Enforced disappearances, torture, attacks on freedom of expression and perceived members of the of lesbian, gay bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community, a climate of impunity, and the death penalty are some of the significant human rights concerns in The Gambia.

2014 marked 20 years since President Yahya Jammeh came to power. The authorities continued to repress dissent. The government continued its policy of non-co-operation with UN human rights mechanisms. Successive legislation was passed further restricting freedom of expression and increasing punitive measures against journalists. Human rights defenders and journalists continued to face imprisonment and harassment.



The rights of LGBTI people were further threatened, including the enactment of a law making "aggravated homosexuality" a crime punishable by life imprisonment. In November 2014, eight people were arrested, detained, and tortured as part of a government crackdown on "homosexuality."


The year ended with an attempted coup on 30 December, leading to dozens of arrests and widespread crackdowns on media outlets. In January 2015, at least 30 family members of people alleged to have taken part in the coup attempt were detained without charge or access to their lawyers or families. Some have since been released but many remain in incommunicado as of April 2015. In March 2015, three soldiers were sentenced to death and three to life imprisonment by a secret military court for participation in the attempted coup. The last executions in Gambia were carried out in 2012, when nine prisoners (eight men and one woman) were executed by firing squad.

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