Human rights lawyer from Sri Lanka to observe Gambian polls

Human rights lawyer from Sri Lanka to observe Gambian polls

Sri Lankan human rights lawyer Shyamala Gomez has been included in a Commonwealth team tasked with observing Gambia’s Presidential Election scheduled for 4 December 2021.

Former President of Nigeria Olusegun Obasanjo will lead the Commonwealth team.

Following an invitation from the Independent Electoral Commission of The Gambia, and the visit of a pre-election assessment team in October, Secretary-General Patricia Scotland announced the deployment of the nine-person Commonwealth Observer Group.

The Secretary-General said: “I must thank President Obasanjo for accepting my invitation to lead this team, and each of the Commonwealth observers for agreeing to undertake this important assignment at this difficult time as the Commonwealth continues to promote the values of democracy despite the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic.”

“The deployment of this observer group is a demonstration of the Commonwealth’s commitment to supporting electoral democracy in member countries and a recognition of the right of individuals to participate in democratic processes, through credible, inclusive and transparent elections in shaping their societies.”

The Observer Group will consider all aspects of the election process and determine whether the elections are conducted in line with democratic standards to which The Gambia has committed itself.

The Group will submit its final report for consideration by the Commonwealth Secretary-General, and she will in turn share it with the Government of The Gambia and stakeholders. 

The Commonwealth Observer Group members are:

  • Olusegun ObasanjoFormer President of Nigeria, (Chairperson)
  • Prosper Bani, Former Minister of Interior, Ghana
  • Martha Karua, Former Minister of Justice, Kenya
  • Robert Phiri, Executive Director, Public Affairs Commission, Malawi
  • Hendrick Gappy, Former Chairperson, Electoral Commission, Seychelles
  • Shyamala Gomez, Executive Director, Centre for Equality and Justice, Sri Lanka
  • Candia Dames, Executive Editor of the Nassau Guardian,The Bahamas
  • Crispin Kaheru, Commissioner, Uganda Human Rights Commission, Uganda
  • Musa Mwenye, SC Former Attorney General, Zambia

The Group will be supported by Commonwealth Secretariat staff led by Linford Andrews, Head of the Electoral Support Section of the Governance and Peace Directorate. (Colombo Gazette)

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