In an effort to convince the British government to address The Gambia’s worsening human rights violations and the perversion of the rule of law, Pa Modou Bojang, the producer of the famous ‘Mengbe Kering’ program has approached the MP of Riverside in Liverpool Louise Ellman, urging urgent intervention.
The lawmaker took the concerns, which include the infringement of the rights of Christians in the West African nation to Tobias Ellwood, the minister responsible for the UK’s relations with The Gambia at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
The UK said it will continue to play a leading role in pressing for greater respect for human rights and in ensuring that the issue remains prominent on the international agenda.
“Although the Gambia government has recently taken some steps to address human rights concerns, including the banning of FGM and the dismissal of cases against the LGBT community by the Gambian courts, still more needs to be done” Minister Ellwood stated.
The UK is the only EU member state with an ambassador resident in The Gambia. Relations between The Gambia and the European Union has steadily declined with the organization withholding more than 30 million Euros in aid and budgetary support to The Gambia over rights concerns.
The British government was among the first nations to voice its concerns at the United Nations regarding the country’s current situation and Minister Ellwood said that was done with the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon and his West African representative, Muhammed Ibn Chambers.
“Human rights are universal and must apply equally to all people. The UK will continue to work with the Gambian government to urge them to fully guarantee the fundamental rights of all Gambian citizens,” Minister Ellwood stated.
President Jammeh has this year declared The Gambia an Islamic Republic and threatened genocide against the Mandingo people, prompting the UN Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide to condemn his inflammatory statement and called on Jammeh to ensure that the lives of all populations of The Gambia are respected.
MP Ellenwood said The Gambia has a proud history of religious and tribal tolerance, which the UK expects to continue.
“President Jammeh has publicly stated that his decision to declare The Gambia an Islamic State will have no impact on other religions in the country,” said the parliamentarian.
Pa Modou Bojang said the country’s peace and the peoples’ liberties are not just threatened but being taken away and has urged that urgent action be taken by the UK in the international community to prevent any atrocities.
President Yahya Jammeh is seeking a fifth term in office this winter. The Gambia is faced with a crumbling economy, increased international isolation and unserviceable international debts.
The rights of Christians are being trampled upon, according to right campaigners with the banning of drumming during Ramadan and an attempt to close down their cemetery at the entrance of the capital, Banjul.
President Yahya Jammeh on Thursday renewed his threats against other Muslim sects as well, saying their form of practice of the religion will not be allowed in the West African nation.