Gambia: Human Rights

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 4th November 2019.

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Photo of Liz McInnes Liz McInnes Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the human rights situation in The Gambia in relation to (a) freedom of expression and (b) freedom of association.

Photo of Liz McInnes Liz McInnes Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to help promote media freedom in The Gambia.

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

The British Government has a strong relationship with The Gambia and is encouraged by positive progress on the human rights situation since President Barrow took office in 2017. We welcome the commitment of the President and the Government of The Gambia to embrace change by drafting a new Gambian Constitution that has a human rights based approach to development with freedom of expression, freedom of association and media freedom at the heart of it. As the former Foreign Secretary acknowledged at the UNESCO World Press Freedom Day event on 2 May 2019, The Gambia has made huge strides in improving media freedoms having climbed 30 places in the World Press Freedom Index over the last year.

When our Ambassador for Human Rights visited The Gambia in October, she held constructive meetings across the Government of The Gambia and with civil society on human rights issues. We now look forward to The Gambia’s upcoming Human Rights Universal Periodic Review on 5 November and urge the Government of the Gambia to implement recommendations appropriately in fulfilment of their human rights obligations.

The UK will continue to support The Gambia taking specific action to resolve the challenges still to be addressed so that the human rights of all its citizens are respected and protected.

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