Transparency International, the anti-corruption organisation, calls for the government of Gabon to uphold civil society’s right to peaceful activism following the detention last week of more than 40 people, including Grégory Ngbwa Mintsa, the 2010 recipient of the Transparency International Integrity Award.
The civil society activists, who were taken into custody on June 8 and later released, were planning an alternative forum to a government-sponsored New York Forum Africa, a regional event to promote Gabon. The activists wanted to highlight the challenges ordinary citizens face in Gabon. Freedom of expression and the space for a vibrant civil society are essential in any country to ensure a government is accountable to its people.
Mintsa is a well-known activist in Gabon. In 2010 he received the Integrity Award for his role in a lawsuit brought by Transparency International France and civil society group Sherpa to investigate how three African leaders, including the former president of Gabon Omar Bongo, were able to allegedly acquire luxury properties in France. Despite threats and imprisonment, Mintsa refused to drop the case.
Transparency International is the global civil society organisation leading the fight against corruption
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