Gambia pulls out of Commonwealth

2013-10-03 08:53
Gambia President Yahya Jammeh. (File, AFP)

Gambia President Yahya Jammeh. (File, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Banjul - The Gambian government announced on Wednesday that the former British colony is pulling out of the Commonwealth with immediate effect, saying it would "never be a member of any neo-colonial institution".

"The general public is hereby informed that the government of the Gambia has left the Commonwealth of Nations with immediate effect," it said in a statement.

"[The] government has withdrawn its membership of the British Commonwealth and decided that the Gambia will never be a member of any neo-colonial institution and will never be a party to any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."

The Commonwealth bloc is a voluntary association of more than 50 countries, many of them former territories of the British empire.

No further details were given but a foreign ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP that the decision came after the government rejected a proposal by the Commonwealth last year to create commissions in Banjul to protect human rights, media rights and fight against corruption.

The proposal followed an April 2012 visit to the Gambia by Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma, during which he met with President Yahya Jammeh and other top government officials.

Jammeh, who is regularly accused of rights abuses, has ruled mainland Africa's smallest country with an aura of mysticism and an iron fist since seizing power in 1994.

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.

Rights concerns

A spokesperson at the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office said early on Thursday: "We would very much regret Gambia, or any other country, deciding to leave the Commonwealth."

He noted however that "decisions on Commonwealth membership are a matter for each member government".

The Gambia is a tiny sliver of land wedged into Senegal. It suffers from widespread poverty but its miles of palm-fringed beaches are a favourite among sun-seeking European tourists

The west African anglophone nation, the smallest on the mainland, has long been dogged by rights concerns under Jammeh's administration.

Jammeh, who seized power in a 1994 coup, brooks no criticism. He has been re-elected to power three times.

The man who claims he can cure Aids and other illnesses is often pilloried for rights abuses and the muzzling of journalists.

In 2010, the EU, the country's top aid donor, cancelled $30m in budget support for Banjul because of concerns over human rights and governance.

In August 2012, Jammeh came under attack from Amnesty International and others for sending nine prisoners to the firing squad and promising many more would go the same way.

Homosexuality

Many top officials have found themselves charged with treason, often related to coup plots which observers have said are a sign of paranoia by Jammeh, who has woven an aura of mysticism around himself, dressing in billowing white robes and always clutching his Koran.

Last year he warned foreign diplomats that his country would not be "bribed" with aid to accept homosexuality.

"If you are to give us aid for men and men or for women and women to marry, leave it. We don't need your aid because as far as I am the president of the Gambia, you will never see that happen in this country," he said.

In January this year Jammeh accused the European Union of trying to destablise Gambia, after the EU set out a 17-point checklist of demands for reforms.

They included calls for Gambia to abolish the death penalty and to re-open newspapers and radio stations closed down by the authorities.

The president regularly insists that he will not bow to external pressures for reform.

 

Read more on:    commonwealth  |  yahya jammeh  |  uk  |  gambia  |  west africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
18 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
SPONSORED CONTENT
When is a mountain more than just a mountain? 2014-12-18 07:26

When it’s an adventure! A group of Old Mutual employees found out how much is enough courage, endurance and camaraderie to take on Africa's highest peak.

/News
 

Sexiest Instagrams of 2014

Check out some of the sexiest celebrity Instagrams of 2014!

 
 

I love summer.24

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!
Summer Survey!
Great ideas for the best summer sandwiches!
Christmas lingerie to make this festive season the best one ever!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Restaurant Manager

Western Cape
SET Recruitment Consultants
R20 000 - R30 000 Per Month

upply Chain Manager

Western Cape
ZIMCO Group (PTY) Ltd
R30 000 - R40 000 Per Month

Area Manager - Retail

Western Cape
Evolve Personnel
R20 000 - R25 000 Per Month

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

The energy today is serious, materialistic and hardworking. You may find you get a new outlook on things and you may want to spend...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.