The Gambia: A new constitution – revised draft still threatens human rights

On 8 August 1996 the Gambian people will vote in a referendum on their future constitution. An initial draft constitution was prepared in 1995 by a Constitutional Review Commission, and a revised draft was presented by the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council (AFPRC) the week before the referendum following a period of public consultation. Amnesty International still has grave concerns about important weaknesses in the human rights components of the revised draft. These include concern about several articles which provide impunity for the President and members of the AFPRC; the reintroduction of the death penalty; potential derogations of human rights during a state of “public emergency”; and guarantees of freedom of expression. Amnesty International is calling on the authorities to fully reinstate the rule of law in the Gambia and to revoke decrees which violate human rights.

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