News / Africa

Gambia Withdraws From 'Neo-Colonial' Commonwealth

FILE - Gambian President Yahya Jammeh during a press conference following his reelection in Banjul, Gambia, Sept. 2006.
FILE - Gambian President Yahya Jammeh during a press conference following his reelection in Banjul, Gambia, Sept. 2006.
VOA News
Gambia's government has announced that the West African nation is withdrawing from the Commonwealth grouping of mostly former British colonies, saying it will not be a "member of any neo-colonial institution."

The statement, released on Wednesday, did not further specify why the government is making the move now to leave the 54-member organization.

Britain and the European Union have for years been critical of Gambia's human rights record and called on President Yahya Jammeh's government to make reforms.

Jammeh said in his address to the United Nations General Assembly last week that homosexuality is one of the biggest threats to human existence.

Sulayman Nyang, a Gambian native and senior professor at Howard University in Washington, told VOA that Western rejection of Gambia's human rights record and Jammeh's anti-gay stance may be part of the reasoning behind pulling out of the Commonwealth.

"So for that reason he is definitely at loggerheads with the prime minister of Great Britain, who has been very strong in his support of the gay groups. Jammeh goes back to the old African nationalist position -- we are not going to kowtow to the imperialists," explained Nyang.

Nyang said opposition groups in Gambia see a parallel between the president and other dictators in Africa.

Gambia, a Commonwealth member since 1965, is not the first African nation to leave the group. Zimbabwe withdrew in 2003, saying it threatened the country's independence and sovereignty.

The Commonwealth's charter calls on its member states to commit to free and democratic societies and to promote "peace and prosperity to improve the lives" of their people.

Earlier this year, Jammeh accused the E.U. of trying to destabilize Gambia after the bloc demanded the government initiate a list of rights reforms, including greater press freedoms and the banning of the death penalty.

Britain said in a report this year that Gambia "consistently disregards its international human rights obligations."

Jammeh has also accused Britain of supporting his political opponents, claiming they received funding from Britain ahead of elections in 2011.

You May Like

Beijing Warns Hong Kong Protesters, Cracks Down at Home

In suppressing protest news, China reportedly has arrested more than 20 people on the mainland who acted in support of Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters More

Competing Goals Could Frustrate Efforts to Fight Islamic State

As alliances shift and countries re-define themselves, analysts say long-standing goals of some key players in Middle East may soon compete with Western goals More

Child Sexual Exploitation to Worsen in SE Asia

Southeast Asia’s planned economic integration is a key step for boosting the region’s productivity, but carries downsides as well More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid