Saturday, August 8, 2015

Gambia must mend ways to play full role in the international arena says US Ambassador-designate

The U.S. Ambassador-designate to The Gambia acknowledged during her Senate confirmation hearing last week Thursday, the important U.N. peacekeeping role the country presently plays and its substantial presence in Darfur, but warned that the country "will not be able to play that role to the fullest without making changes at home."

Ambassador-designate Carolyn P. Alsup  issued the warning as part of  her opening statement before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on the 30th of July 2014.

She said that the U.S. "is concerned about the downward trajectory of The Gambia's human rights record", making specific and pointed references to arbitrary arrests and many who are subjected to being detained beyond the 72-hours allowed under law.   In addition to arbitrary arrests, "discriminatory legislation and verbal and physical abuse have been targeted against the LGBT community."

The cases of Alhagie Mamut Ceesay and Ebou Jobe - the two Gambian-American who went missing inside The Gambia over two years ago - were also cited by the Ambassador-designate in her statement as cause for concern.  Obviously, the United State would require that the government of The Gambia to account for them so that they can rejoin their families in the U.S.

Human rights is the cornerstone of America's foreign policy. "Respecting and upholding human rights is also cornerstone of maintaining a just and peaceful society and mitigating the lure of violent extremism", she said.

If confirmed,  Ambassador-designate Alsup promised to seek regular dialogue with the Jammeh regime but also with "political parties, civil society, journalists, youth and women to emphasize the importance of the respect for, and the protection of, all human rights."

Her statement before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations is a reaffirmation of the Press Statement issued by the State Department after the release of the "pardoned" prisoners by the dictatorial regime of Yaya Jammeh in which while taking note of the prisoner release, urged the regime to abide by its own laws of not detaining Gambians beyond the 72-hours without charge and demanded the release of the missing Americans.

In this regard, it is worth noting that the Ambassador-designate promised that if confirmed she will make top priority the safety and security of the nearly 2,000 U.S. citizens, in the Gambia, about half of whom are minors.