European lawmakers want their Union to adopt a tougher stance against Gambian President Yahya Jammeh. They also want the bloc to provide support to the Gambia’s opposition parties and civil society organisations as well as begin the process of Article 96 consultation with the Gambia’s tyrannical government.
At a recent plenary session at Strasbourg, Germany, EU lawmakers across Europe took turns to deplore the appalling human rights situation in the Gambia.
In her contribution to the debate, Italian MP said the death of Solo Sandeng has changed the dynamics. Cecile Kashetu Kyene said the EU can no longer tolerate the arrogance and systematic repression on civilians.
“In line with the Cotonou Agreement, we want to carry out actions such as the freezing of non humanitarian aid to Banjul in order to have target sanction such as travel ban to ensure people have responsibility for their action,” she said.
Jean-Paul Denanot of France said the EU cannot tolerate the rights of citizens of the Gambia being violated by the country’s dictator. “We must do all we can to ensure the restoration of democracy to this country of less than two million people. The EU must stand with the people of the Gambia,” Mr. Denanot said.
A Greece lawmaker also abhorred the Jammeh government’s unacceptable excesses. Notis Marias said since 1994, there has been disappearances in the country that are of political nature. Maritas said the EU must take immediate action to put an end to the Gambia’s disrespect for the human rights and the rule of law.
For Stanislav Polcak of Czech Republic, it was about time the EU provided support to the Gambia’s embattled opposition parties. “The EU is still the largest donor to the Gambia and I ask: is it possible to support a government that acts so despicably to its own citizens rather we should support the opposition?”
Neena Gill of the United Kingdom wants the bloc to support Gambian civil society organisations who are in the forefront standing up for reform in the Gambia. Gill is concerned about the implication of elections in a country where the playing field is anything but level. “Can the election be really free and fair?” Gill asked.
Germany lawmaker appealed to the EU to work closely with the ECOWAS and AU to address the situation in the Gambia. “We have got to stop what is happening in the Gambia,” Jordis Sebastia said.
Ignazio Carrao of Italy described President Jammeh as a brutal dictator who promotes corruption and nepotism and continues to violate the rights of its citizens. “We call on the Gambian authorities to end illegal detention of Gambians.”
David Martin of the UK said “we now need Article 96 Consultation to send a clear message to the Gambia that if they do not stop arbitrary arrests and if the police and NIA do not bring an end to brutality and torture, the EU would consider cutting all relations with them. This is a brutal regime and it needs a brutal response.”
More information on the debate can be found on the link below: