President Yahya Jammeh’s recent celebrated prisoner release including high political prisoners and his first meeting with the US Head of Mission in over three years was as a result of persistent international pressure. Furthermore, similar pressure from the EU has seen Jammeh dispatched a United Nations funded fact-finding mission to Nigeria to see how their independent Human Rights Commission operates. This was disclosed to the Campaign for Human Rights in the Gambia UK (CHRG) by the United Kingdom government.
These revelations run contrary to what President Jammeh, his ministers in collaboration with the state controlled media want us to believe, They have persistently been preaching to Gambians and the international community that it was in the spirit of mercy and forgiveness as well as freedom and liberty that he chose to free the prisoners.
(CHRG UK) recently made a representation to the UK government about the dire situation in the country, urging them to work with the international community to prioritise the Gambia to prevent further escalation of the situation.
The government pointed out that the UK plays a lead role in campaigning for human rights in the Gambia and ensuring that the issue remains prominent on the European Union’s agenda.
“Since then President Jammeh has taken steps to address our concern these include the unconditional release of over 300 prisoners, including about 60 high political prisoners, the reinstatement of consular access to all foreign prisoners, the first meeting between the US Head of Mission in over three years in which the President express the desire to turn the page and the Gambian UN funded fact-finding mission to Nigeria to see how their Independent Human Rights Commission operates something the EU has been advocating for almost two years”.
“Nevertheless, despite these recent progress President Jammeh still has much to prove. The UK`s position on this issue is firm.Human rights are universal and must apply equally to all people”. The UK government said.
The UK government also informed CHRG that following President Jammeh’s decision to withdraw the country from the EU’s Article 8 Political Dialogue in November last year following criticism of the country`s human rights record, as a result of UK lobbying the Gambia government has now agree to resume the dialogue.We are seeking to persuade the Gambia government to improve the Human rights situation through it regular political dialogue under Cotonou Agreement.
“The human violations that are currently taken place in Gambia are horrendous and requires international attention. More needs to be done urgently to end this wave of terror that have swept the people of the Gambia since 1994. CHRG will intensify efforts with its partner to ensure Gambia government adhere to its human rights obligations,” CHRG UK`s Alieu Ceesay said in a statement.