New president promises constitutional reforms and rights protection


Following the inauguration of a new president, Adama Barrow, the Gambian government held a conference in Banjul in May 2017 to review the state of the freedom of expression and the press, which had been highly repressed under the previous president, Yahya Jammeh. 

The change in power has brought some improvements in the situation for freedom of expression and the press, namely arbitrary arrests of journalists have ceased since Barrow assumed his position in January 2017. The new president has also promised constitutional reforms to restore protection of fundamental freedoms. The reform process is slated to begin in August 2017. 

Reforms are still greatly needed to ensure all human rights are protected, as Sabrina Mahtani, Amnesty International's researcher for West Africa, stated: 

"Long-held prisoners have been released without charges. The Gambia has joined the International Criminal Court. So this is a positive start. But there are many challenges ahead: repressive laws are still in place, institutions like the police or the prison system are still very weak, so there is still much need for reform". (Translated from French)