Gambian President Snubs UN

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Who killed Deyda Hydara?

By Sarata Jabbi-Dibba

Gambian President Yahya Jammeh has apparently snubbed the United Nations over investigation into his country’s unfinished media violations, particularly the murder of Deyda Hydara and  disappearance of Chief Ebrima Manneh in December 2004 and July 2006, respectively.

This was revealed at a round table meeting involving officials of Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Committee to Protect Journalists, Gambian journalists and other press freedom organizations in London last Friday.

Earlier this year, President Jammeh finally bowed down to mounting pressures and wrote to the world body, asking for international assistance in relation to the unsolved assault on the two journalists.

George Sheriff, the Deputy High Commissioner of UK to Banjul, told the meeting that the UN responded to Mr. Jammeh’s request, asking him to appoint a contact person. Gambian leader instead decided to snub the United Nations.

However, High Commissioner Sheriff expressed the United Kingdom’s commitment to pilling pressures on both President Jammeh and the UN.

CPJ representative Elisabeth Witchel had an exchange with the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Official regarding the letter from United States Senator Dick Durbin who wanted the UK to play active role in promoting international investigation into the disappearance of Ebrima Manneh.

The meeting was told that the outcome of an international investigation into the two cases would put an end to the Gambia’s culture of fear and impunity.

Also of concern to participants were Jammeh’s breeding of hostile media environment, flagrant violations of international and regional obligations as evidenced in his government’s refusal to comply with the Community Court of the Economic Community of West African States and promulgation of obnoxious media laws.

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