Tuesday, February 3, 2015

GAMBIA: An Open Letter to UN Under-Secretary-General Feltman

UN Under-Secretary-General Feltman
Mr. Jeffrey Feltman
U.N. Under-Secretary-General
Department of Political Affairs
New York, New York

Dear Mr. Feltman,

As you prepare to visit The Gambia, following the January 14th 2015 mission of Mohamed Ibn Chambas, to meet with the Gambian president, it is important to outline the concerns of ordinary Gambians who have been locked out of the political process by the dictatorship.  Not even the opposition parties have a hand or say in making it possible for their views to be heard.  The Mohamed Ibn Chambas's mission failed to provide the platform for the Opposition.  We hope yours will.

As a private citizen and an advocate for the restoration of democracy and the rule of law in my dear country, I hope you will find it appropriate, and within your Term of Reference, to address, during your meeting with President Jammeh, the following areas :

1.  The need for the Gambia Government to cooperate with foreign institutions so that the events of 30th December can be thoroughly and independently investigated

2.  The bodies of the slain suspects are handed over to their families after an Inquest has been conducted

3. The Government publish on Gazette the names of those who are currently detained and their detention should be thoroughly reviewed.

4.  Suspects of the Coup plot should be arraigned before the Court of Law as soon as possible - within the next 7 days

5.  Government should provide a comprehensive list of all those who have been detained without being brought before a Court of Law

6.  The Government should conduct a credible investigation into the death of Deyda Hydara and other cases leading to the loss of lives

7.  The Government should start facilitating talks with the Opposition in the hope of introducing a platform for a Free and Fair elections in 2016, barring which the Opposition will not participate.

On behalf of the citizens of The Gambia who have suffered enough in the hands of a dictatorship that continues to suffer from human right abuses and mismanagement of a once thriving economy, I wish you a successful Mission.

Sincerely yours

Sidi Sanneh
Former Senior Civil Servant
Former Foerign Minister and Ambassador to Senegal
Former Executive Director, AfDB