Juan Méndez investigation on human rights abuses in The Gambia to the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council in March. The Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Juan Méndez, together with the UNSpecial Rapporteurs on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns, visited The Gambia from 3 to 7 November 2014, at the invitation of the Government of The Gambia. The official mission of the two United Nations Human Rights Rapporteurs to investigate torture and killings in The Gambia could not be completed as the authorities denied them unrestricted and unsupervised access to the places of detention. Their mission, among other things, was to examine the current level of protection of the right to life in both law and practice, assess the situation and identify challenges regarding torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in The Gambia. The UN Human Rights expert said they can only undertake a mission when invited by State parties who signed the TOR which specifies “access to all prisons, detention centres and places of interrogation”. The team presented their preliminary findings which dealt in detail with issues such as the Death penalty, Resumption of executions and conditional moratorium, Use of force, Impunity for extra judicial executions and enforced disappearances, Paramilitary groups, Public demonstrations and the use of force, Prevalence of torture, Lack of official registration upon detention, Lack of accountability regarding investigations, Role of judiciary and prosecutors, Arrest and detention powers, Forced confessions: evidence obtained under torture, Access to lawyers, Forensics, Complaint system, Prison conditions, National institutions, Ratification of UN treaties as well as other issues that will be addressed in the final report such as the threat to media, etc. ]]>

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