26 July 2011

Gambia :Commemorating The Gambia’s tragic day; July 22 1994

On July 22 2011, Gambians once again remembered that fateful day seventeen years ago when the Gambian military toppled the democratically elected government of The Gambia. It is an occasion when Gambians and friends of the Gambian people around the world again reflect on horrible legacy of the military regime that usurped the power of the Gambian state. In the past seventeen years since Yahya Jammeh came to power through the barrel of a gun, Gambians have experienced an unprecedented level of human and civil rights abuses and economic mismanagement. Yahya Jammeh’s regime has  achieved notoriety as one of the most brutal and corrupt on the African continent, with an unenviable legacy of extrajudicial summary executions, murders, tortures, forced disappearances, and incarceration of innocent citizens. In addition, the intimidation and terror unleashed against the Gambian people, which are a constant feature in the regime’s governance method, have taken their toll as debilitating and paralyzing both mentally and physically. But in his determination to hold on to power by instilling fear in the minds of Gambians, Yahya Jammeh’s brutal regime has not confined its terrorism to Gambians citizens alone. The massacre of Ghanaians six years ago and the infrequent, yet regular expulsion of foreign workers with diplomatic immunity are an additional stain on the character of Yahya Jammeh and his regime. This year, as we once again mark the anniversary of that sad day seventeen years ago when Yahya Jammeh took over the reigns of power, we are reminded of the scores of murdered and executed Gambians, the dozens of forced disappearances, the several hundred political prisoners and thousands of Gambians who fled their homeland into exile. And as we remember them, we resolve to continue to seek justice for them, and above all, work towards a Gambia free of tyranny and the rule of fear; a Gambia where all citizens are free to pursue happiness each in their own way. As the awareness of the gross human and civil rights abuses in The Gambia have become known, the Day of Action spearheaded by Amnesty International (AI), has taken on a new sense of urgency as The Gambia continues its decent into unfathomable political and economic degeneration. This year like previous years has been marked by the deaths of more innocent citizens and the intimidation through frequent arrests and detention continues unabated. Most recently, Dr. Amadou Scattred Janneh and four other innocent Gambians have been arrested and detained and charged under the pretext of national security. It is, therefore, in recognition of the dire situation Gambians find themselves in that we the undersigned consortium of Gambian organizations, henceforth known as Civil Society Associations-Gambia (CSAG), demand that Yahya Jammeh’s regime cease the rule of fear and restore democracy and human and civil rights in The Gambia by:
  • Freeing all political prisoners
  • Stop the execution, murders, and forced disappearances of innocent citizens
  • Release all innocent captives languishing in prisons and jails around the country
  • Produce Chief Ebrima Manneh and Kanyiba Kanyi to their families
  • End the arbitrary arrests and detentions
  • Stop the harassment of citizens by police and National Security agents
  • Disband the murderous Jammeh youth brigade
  • Restore the freedom of the press
  • Free Dr. Amadou Scattred Janneh and his co-defendants
  • Reinstitute the two-term limit in the Gambian Constitution

1. Gambia Campaign to Fight Human Rights Violations-CFHRV (Scotland)
2. Save The Gambia Democracy Project-STGDP (US)
3. Coalition for Human Rights The Gambia-CHRTG (UK)
4. Human Rights for All HUMRA (Sweden)
      5. Movement For Democracy and Development MFDD (US)
      6. National Movement for the Restoration of Democracy in Gambia-NMRDG (US)
7. United Gambia for Democracy and Freedom-UGDF (Senegal)
8. Coalition for Change-Gambia-CCG (Gambia)

Signed                                                                                          Signed
Banka Manneh                                                                           Ndey Tapha-Sosseh
Chairman                                                                                    Secretary General

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