Thursday, 03 October 2013 16:04(JollofNews) – Amnesty International has become the latest rights organisation to criticise the Gambia’s decision to withdraw from the Commonwealth of Nations.
With no prior warning to the Commonwealth Secretariat in London, the Gambian Government announced yesterday that it was pulling out of the Commonwealth with "immediate effect".
In a statement on state television, the country’s president, Yahya Jammeh, described the Commonwealth as neo-colonial institution, which his country would never be part of.
Mr Jammeh said he has decided that the Gambia will never be a member of ‘any neo-colonial institution and will never be a party to any institution that represents an extension of colonialism’
But Lisa Sherman-Nikolaus, Amnesty International’s Gambia researcher said Mr Jammeh’s decision to withdraw the country from the 54–member grouping, which includes the UK and most of its former colonies, is ‘really sad and unfortunate’.
She said the Commonwealth is one of the few institutions that has direct contact with the government and has been working to establish a national human rights commission, build the capacity of the judiciary, and make some interventions on human rights cases.
“Withdrawing from the Commonwealth is going to isolate the Gambia even further,” she added. “The decision is unfortunate but not surprising looking at President Jammeh’s record and recent statement at the 68th session of the UN General Assembly were he described human rights, good governance and democracy as a new religion that is being prescribed on Africans by western colonial powers.”
Ms Sherman-Nikolaus described Mr Jammeh’s statement as ‘very worrying’. She called on the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights to start speaking out against the on-going rights violation in the Gambia and enforce the recommendations it has made on how to improve human rights.
Since coming to power in a military coup in 1994, President Jammeh is regularly accused of rights abuses. Earlier this year, the Gambia was singled out for its poor rights record in Britain’s annual Human Rights and Democracy report, which cited cases of unlawful detentions, illegal closures of newspapers and radio stations and discrimination against minority groups.
Written by PK Jarju
Who's OnlineWe have 174 guests online
Should homosexuality be legalised in The Gambia?
- Gambia’s Jammeh Attends Mandela’s Memorial
- Yahya Jammeh Blames External Forces For Africa’s Wars
- APRC Retains Seat In Constituency By—Election
- South Africa’s Nelson Mandela Dies
- European Union To Vote On Gambia’s Aid Package
- Exiled Gambian Editor Publishes Memoir
- Three Gambians Remanded For Stealing Yahya Jammeh’s Cows
- Gambia Makes U-turn On Chicken Legs Ban
- Gambian Detained For Bad—Mouthing Jammeh Freed
- Gambia’s Information Minister Nana Grey—Johnson Fired
- Opposition Parties To Hold Unity Rallies In Gambia
- Exorbitant Demands For Aid Causes Gambia/Taiwan Tie Break
- Taiwan Regrets Gambia’s Decision To Cut Ties
- Gambia Cuts Diplomatic Ties With Taiwan
- Gambia’s Jammeh Admits ‘I Am A Dictator’