Gambia: Arrests of Protestors

Foreign and Commonwealth Office – in the House of Commons on 4 February 2020.

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Photo of Anne McLaughlin Anne McLaughlin Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Women), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Equalities)

What representations he has made to his Gambian counterpart on reports of arrests of peaceful protestors by Gambian security forces.

What the Gambia did in coming together to rid itself of the human rights abuses of former President Jammeh was nothing short of spectacular and gave a real opportunity to build a world-leading democracy, but last week, hundreds were beaten by security forces for peacefully demonstrating. Four journalists were detained and charged with incitement, and two radio stations have been closed down. Using the Government’s global media freedom campaign, what can the Minister do to support the majority of Gambians, who are terrified that this is the start of a slippery slope backwards, when they clearly want to go forwards?

Photo of Andrew Stephenson Andrew Stephenson Assistant Whip, Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Joint with the Department for International Development)

I thank the hon. Lady for her question. We are concerned that the political protests on 26 January turned violent. We are monitoring the investigations into that incident closely through our high commission. The UK is clear that the right to peaceful protest and media freedom must be upheld without recourse to violence and intimidation.