EU may impose sanctions on Gambia if rights conditions continue to deteriorate

EU may impose sanctions on Gambia if rights conditions continue to deteriorate

The EU said Friday if human rights situation does not improve or should even deteriorate in the West African nation of The Gambia, its parliament would place targeted sanctions on officials responsible for serious rights abuses.

An EU parliamentary delegation concluded a visit to mainland Africa’s smallest country, where human rights group accused the president, Yahya Jammeh of cracking down on dissident voices, extra judicial executions and arbitrary arrests and detention of political opponents, journalists and pro-democracy campaigners.

The EU passed a resolution in May after Gambian authorities arrested and tortured peaceful protesters, killing at least one senior opposition member Ebrima Solo Sandeng.

Sandeng’s son, Muhammed wrote to the union demanding the release of his father’s corpse and transparent investigation into his death with that of another opposition activist, Solo Krumah.

The EU urged The Gambia to release all protestors arrested in connection with the April protests including the UDP leader Ousainou Darboe, to grant access to state media to opposition parties, to allow the United Nations Special Elections Team access to the country and to conduct an independent investigation into Solo Sandeng’s death.

Rights groups have been in pursuit of targeted sanctions on President Jammeh and his officials over the years. The U.S. government has suspended The Gambia’s participation in the preferential AGOA trade deal since and aid to The Gambia declined.

The EU continues to withhold more than 30 million Euros in budgetary aid to The Gambia with President Yahya Jammeh rejecting a 17-point demand from the union and calling its aid “chicken change.”

The UN Rights Commission said it has received reports of opposition detainees being denied urgently needed medical care and visitation and has since requested for a joint mission with Gambian authorities on the situation.

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