Gambia slams west for ‘concocting lies’ about its human rights abuses

The tiny west African nation, which is flanked on both sides by Senegal, on Wednesday stunned the 54-country bloc with the announcement it was leaving what it called a "neo-colonial" institution.

In a statement read on state media on Saturday, the government lashed out at its "enemies".

The statement said Britain and the US had backed "so-called Gambians to set up organisations and media facilities to spread nothing but lies against The Gambia by making false, outrageous and unfounded statements about the state of human rights."

President Yahya Jammeh, who has ruled the country since 1994, is often pilloried for rights abuses and the muzzling of journalists.

However members of the diaspora have set up vocal and critical news outlets against Banjul. The statement said that Gambia's human rights record was "much better" than that of Britain and the US.

"The British government has been masterminding this campaign against The Gambia and despite the fact that we are independent they still continue to treat us as their colonial subjects.

"Certainly the British Empire was founded by extraordinary brutality and the massive looting and shedding of the blood of Africans, Asians and others. Its only legacy is exploitation."

Meanwhile it slammed the US as a country "lifted from backwardness, poverty and violence to superpower status as well as the largest economy in the world by the sweat, blood and tears of millions of African slaves."

Jammeh, who is always seen in billowing white robes and brooks no criticism, rules the smallest country on the African mainland with an iron fist and an aura of mysticism.

In 2007 he booted a UN envoy out of the country for questioning his cure for AIDS. In 2010, the EU, the country's top aid donor, cancelled 22-million euros in budget support for Banjul because of concerns over human rights and governance issues.


In August 2012, Jammeh came under fire for sending nine prisoners to the firing squad. He eventually backed down from a mass execution of the rest of those on death row. – AFP

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Advertising

Ayo report: CFO acted in the PIC’s interests

A disciplinary inquiry has cleared Matshepo More of all charges, but she remains suspended

A lifeline for the homeless people in eThekwini

eThekwini plans to retain permanent and safe open spaces for people with nowhere to sleep

Judge trashes entire lockdown regime as constitutionally flawed

The high court ruling will delight gatvol South Africans but is unlikely to stand the test of time

The backlogs, denials and future of testing Covid-19

The National Health Laboratory Services finally admitted to a bottleneck last week, after denying there were any issues since April. According to the service, the backlog of 80 000 tests started in the first week of May
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday