The Gambia in a crisis, better still, Gambia is in turmoil and ECOWAS, AU and the international community are being notified of this ongoing tragedy. On Friday, a group of Gambians activists demanding electoral reforms, ahead of election in December, were arrested, but by Saturday, several of them were reported died, succumbing to torture and other forms of abuse. As elections 2016 draw nearer, the combined opposition had made demands for far-reaching electoral reform, which seeks to break the military regime’s grip on the electoral machinery, and provide access to state resources to the opposition. The imbalance between the regime’s access to state resources and the criminalization of many opposition election activities, are at the heart of the demands for electoral reform. The Gambian constitution guarantees right to free expression, and this includes peaceful protests, among others. To make matters worse, the leader of the main opposition party, Hon. Ousainou Darboe . Around the country, citizens are frustrated and demand political change, but the ruling military regime’s repressive methods seek to silence the population, even in their deep hatred of the regime. Gambia Consultative Council (GCC) a civil rights organization stands in support party leaders, Hon Ousainou Darboe calls for their unconditional release. GCC further seeks clarification about why and how youth activist Solo Sandeng and several others whose names are not released yet, had to die, while protesting legally.
Fellow Gambians, this is a critical point in time in our history, and what we do now, and in the coming days, will decide whether we as a country will continue to live as slaves or free people. The last twenty-one years have been tragic, with hundreds of Gambians and non-Gambians alike killed, executed, disappeared after arrest by the NIA, thousands fled to countries near and far and still thousands more innocents incarcerated in Africa’s worse prison system. This is a defining moment for the Gambia, which will determine whether Gambians will remain passive victims to the unending brutalities by Yahya Jammeh; murders, forced disappearances, tortures, executions and the antagonizing of countries around the globe. Fellow Gambians, thousands of citizens who fled the country demand that Yahya Jammeh leave power, and return Gambia to its bone-fide citizens. More importantly, there are Gambians among us who want us still to be fearful of what Yahya Jammeh will do to us, but as citizens, we have been fearful long enough. We have no fear left to give Yahya Jammeh. We have been deprived of the liberty to speak, To-date, we have been executed, we have been murdered, we have been forced to disappear from the face of the earth, we have fled the Gambia, while thousands of us languish in the Gambia’s gulag prisons. Fellow Gambians, apart from the hundreds known killed on orders of Yahya Jammeh, close to thousand more Gambians and non-Gambians have died in Mile Two Central Prison, of sickness, malnutrition, disease and hunger. Can it be any worse than it is? I think not.
Finally Gambians call on the international community, especially Senegal, ECOWAS, the AU and the US and Great Britain, to help end this Gambian tragedy. Earlier, the regime announced publicly its desire for the non-interference of the international community as the kills, arrests and tortures political party leaders and peaceful marchers demanding electoral reform. For twenty-one years Yahya Jammeh and his regime have, with impunity, killed, publicly executed, maimed, forced to disappear, mass incarcerated, and forced citizens to flee as the international community mostly stands idly by. United Nations, in the prevention of genocide, resolved that“ The UN Resolution often referred to as the (Responsibility to Protect) or (R2P), further elaborates that the; “The duty to prevent and halt genocide and mass atrocities lies first and foremost with the State, but the international community has a role that cannot be blocked by the invocation of sovereignty. Sovereignty no longer exclusively protects States from foreign interference; it is a charge of responsibility where States are accountable for the welfare of their people. This principle is enshrined in article 1 of the Genocide Convention and embodied in the principle of “sovereignty as responsibility” and in the concept of the Responsibility to Protect.” The R2P UN Resolution of 2005, supersedes the Non-interference clause of 1758. In 1978, Tanzania invaded Uganda to halt General Idi Amin’s genocidal regime and force him out of power and into exile. Senegal has a moral obligation to help Gambians remove the cancer in their midst; the regime of Yahya Jammeh. Meanwhile GCC reechoes calls for the unconditional release of Hon Ousainou Darboe and those illegally detained by the state and the release of the bodies of the dead to their families.
The GCC Executive
April 16, 2016.