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Ghanaians protest against President Jammeh of The Gambia

(MFWA/IFEX) - Ghana's Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Chris Kpodo, said that the Ghanaian government would ensure that the human rights situation in the West Africa-sub region and particularly the deteriorating situation in The Gambia is improved.

Following a petition received from protesters on 22 July 2010, Kpodo said: ". . . the government will study your petition and address your concerns, and if necessary meet with you . . ."

The petition followed a protest march from the Ghana International Press Center, where a public forum was held, through some principal streets of Accra and then to the Foreign Ministry. These were part of the activities marking the 16th anniversary of President Yahya Jammeh's Coup d'État on 22 July 1994, which has been cynically named "Freedom Day".

The protestors, about a hundred people drawn from highly respectable Ghana-based civil society organisations, students, and religious bodies as well as people from all walks of life, chanted songs to call on the West African leaders to bring the Gambian authorities to order.

In The Gambia today, all forms of public protests have ceased to exist, lawyers are reluctant to take on human rights cases for fear of reprisals, families of victims of human rights violations are also afraid to speak and many individuals have been tortured or ill-treated, disappeared, or in exile, while some died in custody or shortly after their release.

Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), Amnesty International Ghana, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) and Human Rights Advocacy Centre (HRAC) organised this initiative to protest these and other violations.

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