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

kalahari.com

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"[The] government has withdrawn its membership of the British Commonwealth and decided that the Gambia will never be a member of any neo-colonial institution and will never be a party to any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

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
19 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Wednesday Delft - 20:37 PM
    Road name: R300 Southbound
    ROADWORKS - left lane closed at Hindle Road
  • Wednesday Sir Lowry's Pass - 17:57 PM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop 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

BlackBerry Curve 8520

Wi-Fi enabled With the BlackBerry Curve 8520 connect to your home...

From R1100.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be required to travel or get information for your job. This may be restricting in some way or something may slow things...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.