International mission urges credible elections in The Gambia

ECOWAS, the African Union and the United Nations have jointly appealed for a credible, inclusive and peaceful presidential election in The Gambia. The three organisations undertook a joint mission to consult with Gambian stakeholders ahead of the election scheduled for December 2016. ECOWAS Commission President Marcel Alain de Souza, AU Commissioner for Political Affairs Aisha Laraba Abdullahi, and the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, visited Banjul from 4-5 May. The delegation sought to encourage productive dialogue among political actors and assess compliance with regional and sub-regional standards on elections, democracy, human rights and governance, including the ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance. The mission noted progress in the preparations for the election and welcomed the recent pledge by President Yahya Jammeh to establish a National Human Rights Commission. The delegation also called for an investigation in to a crackdown on political protests last month, reminding the government of its duty to protect the rights of its citizens, in particular, the freedom of expression, assembly and political participation.