UN West Africa Envoy to hold talks with Gambian politicians

UN West Africa Envoy to hold talks with Gambian politicians

UN Chief’s Special Envoy for Western Africa and the Sahel Mohamed Ibn Chambas will be in Banjul next week to hold talks with government officials and opposition leaders ahead of the country’s December presidential polls.

Chambas will be consulting development partners and civil society leaders regarding the ongoing electoral process.

The Gambia, which says it will be withdrawing from the International Criminal Court saw a violent pre-electoral crackdown on opposition protests. The United Nations and the European Union especially condemned the use of force by security forces.

At least two people have died since and Ibn Chambas had visited Banjul over the crisis where he was told by the West African nation’s Attorney General and Justice Minister Mama Fatima Singhateh that protesters assembled unlawfully, and argued that the security forces tried to manage the situation and used force permissible by law.

The Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh has refused to open an investigation into the deaths, saying UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and Amnesty International “can go to hell” for demanding one. The Jammeh Administration has declined to respond to requests from the UN rights commission for a fact-finding mission.

International rights group Human Rights Watch said Gambian authorities are using violence to silence critics of President Jammeh ahead of the polls.

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