The Office of IGP Should Guarantee People’s Right to Protest


It is a constitutional right of citizens to protest and to protest peacefully and any attempts to deny such rights can tantamount to trampling on people’s rights by an institution that is supposed to uphold and protect those rights.
Recently a group of citizens applied for a peaceful protest and they were given the permit, which protest went on very peacefully and orderly with no violence or damage of any properties. These were followed by another application by a group countering the first one, the first one being the 3 Years Jotna and the later Barrow for 5 years.
The 3 years Jotna group again applied for another permit to protest peacefully and their permit is withhold for reasons based on security reasons as advanced by the office of the Inspector General.
However what makes it interesting with clouds of doubts is that the police never got back to the organizers to clear the security doubts that the police may have as per the PRO of 3Years Jotna movement.
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) were concern and aware of interactions between The Gambia Police Force and 3 Years Jotna Concerned Citizens which, if not properly addressed, may lead to misunderstanding and disruption of public order.
Consequently, on Wednesday 8th January 2020, the Commission initiated a separate dialogue with both the Inspector General of Police and Executive members of the 3 Years Jotna Concerned Citizens.
The Office of the Inspection General of Police should draw lessons from the ongoing Truth Reconciliation, Reparation Commission (TRRC) to build a society that is founded on fundamental rights and freedoms, the rule of law, constitutionalism and due process.
The rights of the citizens and those living in the country must be respected and the rights to movement and assembly should be maintained. It is a right to protest and that is guaranteed in out our laws.