President Yahya Jammeh`s recent celebrated prisoners 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 dispatch 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 wants us to believe, They have persistently been preaching to Gambians and the international community that it was in the sprit of mercy and forgives as well as freedom and liberty that he chose to free the prisoners.
(CHRG UK) recently made a representations to the UK government about the dire situation in the Country urging the them to work with the international community to priories the Gambia to prevent further escalation of the situation.
The government pointed out that the UK plays a leading 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 includes 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 Article 8 Political Dialogue in November last 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 Cotonour 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