The International Community has been put on notice about the situation in the Gambia, with unprecedented diplomatic action by the United Kingdom at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The British Permanent Mission and Ambassador to the UN Mathew Rycroft recently engaged the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and other Permanent Representatives, drawing their attention to the degrading political and human rights situation in the Gambia.
In response to concerns by the Campaign for Human Rights in The Gambia UK (CHRG), the UK government confirmed that its UN Representative has been in contact with the UN Secretary General about the appalling situation in the West African country. This was contained in a letter sent to Hon. Tom Brake MP, former deputy leader of the House of Commons.
“The UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations raised his concerns with the United Nations Secretary General and other Permanent Representatives based in New York, we also continue to liaise closely with our international partners about the situation in The Gambia,” the UK government’s letter confirmed. It has also been in close contact with the UN Secretary General’s Representative for West Africa with regard to the Gambia’s precarious situation.
“The UK fully endorsed the statement of the UN Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide on June 10, in which he condemned the use of inflammatory rhetoric and called for the rights of all population of the Gambia to be respected,” the letter cited. “We share the Campaign’s concerns about the speech made by President Jammeh at a political rally on June 3. We and our partners will continue to monitor the situation closely particularly the protection accorded to different ethnic groups”
Meanwhile, more than 30 British MPs have signed a Motion in Parliament condemning the Gambia government’s excesses and called on the United Kingdom to lead an international effort to impose punitive measures on President Yahya Jammeh and leading members of his government. The Motion also called for the provision of a Special Rapporteur on the Gambia at the UN Human Rights Council.
An official of the CHRG-UK has renewed his call on the International Community to end this wave of terror that has swept the Gambia since 1994. Alieu Badara Cessay said this could be done by prioritising the situation in the Gambia. “More must be done urgently through punitive measures such as travel bans and asset freeze in order to put an end to President Jammeh’s oppression against Gambian people. We will continue to work with the UK government to secure a resolution at the UN about the situation in Gambia.”