The United Nations is sending a mission to The Gambia to examine standards adopted by the West African authorities to prevent and eradicate enforced disappearances.
Gambia invited the UN officials, who will be meeting with State officials, relatives of disappeared persons, representatives of civil society organizations and local UN agencies.
It endeavors to establish a channel of communication between the families and the government, to ensure that individual cases are investigated, with the objective of clarifying the whereabouts of persons who, having disappeared, are placed outside the protection of the law.
UN officials, Houria Es-Slami and Henrikas Mickevicius will look into the country’s truth commission, justice for human rights abuses and reparation for the victims of enforced disappearances.
The government of ex-President Yahya Jammeh, who came to power in a 1994 coup, frequently committed serious human rights violations including arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance, and torture against those who voiced opposition to the government.
The repression and abuses created a climate of fear within Gambia, generating increased attention from the international community.
Jammeh was defeated in elections last year and chased out of the country by West African forces.
The new government of Adama Barrow has promised a truth commission to investigate past abuses and has since charged nine former security officials for the killing of an opposition activist.
Since coming to power, Barrow’s government has given UN officials and other diplomats unrestricted access to detention centers, including the Mile 2 Central Prison, which the former government denied them.