The UN Special Rapporteurs on torture and other inhuman treatment are due to visit The Gambia on a fact- finding mission in August during which the country’s prisons will be opened for inspection, according to reliable sources in the government on Sunday. In recent years, the government in Banjul has come under local and international criticism over the allegedly squalid conditions of the country’s prisons and its human rights situation which critics claimed had worsened.
The sources who demanded anonymity said the mission has been proposed for 11 to 18 August.
The visit will allow the two UN officials to look into burning issues of human rights violations and individual cases of torture and disappearances which had attracted criticism of the Gambian government.
The two accompanied by a forensic expert, will meet government officials and those of international and regional organizations, the diplomatic community, civil society activists before visiting places of detention across the country.
The sources said while there the UN officials will conduct unmonitored interviews with detainees, torture victims, and their families or their legal representatives, and interact freely with civil society representatives.
The meetings with actors other than government officials will be coordinated with support from the office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN country team in The Gambia which will be held either as one-on-one conversations or as group (thematic) discussions.
At the end of the mission, the two special rapporteurs will send a report to the Gambian government and present it before the UN Human Rights Council in March 2015.
( Courtesy AGENCIES ……….. Source ……….. NEW AFRICA BUSINESS NEWS)