Member of Parliament for North Tongu and Ranking Member on the Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament, Hon. Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, on the commemoration of International Human Rights Day, has proposed for Parliament to ensure that the government re-opens an investigation into the killings of the Forty-Four (44) Ghanaian nationals in Gambia, following a fresh information emanating from the open confessions by the perpetrators at the ongoing Gambian Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC).
In demanding justice for these 44 Ghanaians massacred in Gambia on July 23, 2005, Hon. Ablakwa, urged the Speaker to issue any further consequencial directives that will assist in securing justice for the victimised compatriots.
Requesting Parliament to also take a serious view by referring the statement to the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, for urgent consideration and to report to the plenary with recommendations on the way forward in marching for justice.
The North Tongu Legislator made this humble appeal on the floor of Parliament, in commemorating this years’ International Human Rights Day, on Tuesday December 10, 2019.
He indicated that some core provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which are pertinent to his call on the Government of Ghana and all partners to ensure justice and compensation for the 44 Ghanaians, pertain to the provisions in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on the Right to Life (Article 3); prohibition against torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment (Article 5); prohibition against arbitrary arrest or detention (Article 9), and the right to be given an effective remedy when these rights are violated.
“Mr. Speaker, this august House played a leading role in demanding information about the circumstances that led to the unlawful killing of 44 of our citizens, brothers, family members, and constituents, when we heard they had been killed in the Gambia on July 23, 2005.
I recognize the efforts of all Members of this august House, who played significant roles in ensuring that this matter was kept on the front burner of national discussion, and to His Excellency, the former President, John Agyekum Kufuor, for promptly sending a High Powered Delegation to the Gambia within a week of hearing about the unlawful killing”. He indicated.
The Ghana delegation, He said, was led by then Minister of Foreign Affairs, who is now our President, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
“I would be remiss if I did not recognize the untiring efforts of His Excellency, former President John Dramani Mahama, on this matter from when he was the Member of Parliament for Bole Bamboi and Ranking Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Vice-President, and President of Ghana”. He acknowledged.
Ghana and the Gambia, after the incident signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and pledged to bring the actual perpetrators of the massacre to justice if new evidence emerges, providing a prima facie case against the alleged perpetrators.
Following the signing of the MoU, the Gambia provided $500,000 towards the burial expenses of those who were killed and eight bodies were flown to Ghana for burial at the Osu Cemetery.
The vociferous Lawmaker alleged that, though it has been confirmed that the 44 Ghanaian citizens were actually killed by uniformed Gambian soldiers on the orders of Mr. Yahya Jammeh, former president of the Gambia, and also admitted by three Gambian soldiers in July, 2019, nothing has been done so far about the incident.
He stated that since Ghana and Gambia pledged to bring the perpetrators to justice and the soldiers have confessed to murdering the migrants on the orders of Yahya Jammeh, Parliament should take keen interest in the matter.
Hon. Ablakwa, however, is requesting the government to re-open an investigation into the killings with the ultimate aim of bringing those who bear the greatest responsibility for the murder, enforced disappearance and torture of these Ghanaian nationals to justice.
He appealed to Parliament to request the ECOWAS Commission and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, in making public the report of the ECOWAS/UN Fact-Finding into the massacre of these national, especially after the confessions by the soldiers.
The Lawmaker also urged the Government and stakeholders to work to actualize the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by seeking justice and compensation for the 44 Ghanaian migrants who were massacred in the Gambia in July 2005.