20th Session of the Universal Periodic Review
U.S. Statement delivered by Ambassador Harper
Representative of the United States to the United Nations Human Rights Council
October 28, 2014
The United States welcomes the Gambian delegation to the UPR Working Group.
The United States is deeply dismayed by the human rights situation in The Gambia. Among other things, we are concerned by government interference with the electoral process; and government harassment and abuse of critics, including restrictions of freedoms of the press and speech of Gambian citizens and journalists, and reports of torture, arrest, detention, and sometimes enforced disappearances of citizens for exercising their human rights. We are also concerned about discrimination against Gambian citizens based on sexual orientation or gender identity, trafficking in persons, forced child marriage, child prostitution, and exploitative child labor.
Bearing in mind these issues of concern, we recommend that The Gambia:
1. Investigate the disappearance of U.S. Citizens Alhaji Ceesay and Ebrima Jobe;
2. Demonstrate its commitment to freedom of expression, including by members of the press, by allowing the UN unfettered access to complete the investigation of the death of journalist Deyda Hydara in 2004 and the disappearance of journalist Ebrima Manneh in 2006.
3. Ensure that the human rights of all Gambian citizens are respected, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, by repealing discriminatory laws that are inconsistent with international human rights principles.
Thank you, Mr. President.