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 THE 17 ISSUES RAISED BY THE EU IN THE POLITCAL DIA
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Momodou



Denmark
10896 Posts

Posted - 10 Jan 2013 :  19:21:57  Show Profile Send Momodou a Private Message
THE 17 ISSUES RAISED BY THE EU IN THE POLITCAL DIALOGUE WITH THE GAMBIA GOVERNMENT


Foroyaa Editorial: Published on Thursday, 10 January 2013



1. Commitment of the Government of The Gambia to allow the free operation of independent media in The Gambia within a deadline of one month;

2. Removal of restrictive barriers/monetary/regulatory to registration and licensing of the media;

3. Removal of restriction on accessing and sharing information electronically within one month;

4. Revision of provisions in the criminal code that allow for prosecution on the charges of sedition, libel, false publication and false information to a public servant within 6 months,

5. Revision of laws on freedom of expression and media regulations within 24 months

6. Upholding of moratorium on death penalty with immediate effect

7. Provision of information regarding the recent executions, and including location of burial to families within one month

8. Review of the death penalty by the National Assembly within 12 months

9. Review of the death penalty by the National Assembly and to propose to introduce a de jure moratorium within 24 months

10. Review of the provision of the death penalty in the element of the criminal code and other laws for most serious crimes within six months

11. That the Government sign and ratify the second optional protocol to the international covenant on civil and political rights within 18 months

12. Conclusion of an MOU with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to allow them access to prison facilities on regular basis within 3 months

13. Provision of regular and timely access for diplomatic corps within one month

14. Presentation of costed proposals to improve prison detention facility condition within 12 months

15. Provision of information on the UN Convention against torture ratified on June 6th 2006 within 3 months

16. Signing of the optional protocols to the convention against torture within 6 months

17. Establishment of the Human Rights Commission proposed by the Commonwealth Secretariat

Source: Foroyaa



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A clear conscience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone

Momodou



Denmark
10896 Posts

Posted - 14 Jan 2013 :  18:22:41  Show Profile Send Momodou a Private Message
VIEWS OF GAMBIANS ON THE 17 POINT DEMAND OF THE EUROPEAN UNION
By Samba Bah

Foroyaa: Published on Monday, 14 January 2013


Mr Lamin Jatta, a student at the University of the Gambia, reading Political Science, advised the Gambia Government to abide by the 17 points of the European Union .

He said the Government should not have any qualms with that since it is for the benefit of the Gambian people. He opined that if the (EU) realizes that Gambia Government is not adhering to the provisions they have agreed upon, the (EU) is duty bound to remind the Gambia about the provisions of the agreement.

He expressed concern about the deteriorating human rights situation in the Gambia and concluded by urging the Gambian authorities to respect human rights and release Imam Baba Leigh and cooperate with the EU proposals which could only help the country to improve on its human Rights record..

Amie Darbo a 35-year-old resident of Bakoteh, on her part, asserted that the (EU) is right to pursue Gambia to enforce the 17 points, because when they were signing and ratifying the provisions, they knew full well that these provisions are very important for any democratic government. She said that was why they have agreed and signed. She also added that the government should implement them. "Since they have signed the agreement, let the Gambia Government enforce the points to enable them continue to receive support from the (EU) because Gambia cannot afford to be in bad terms with an influential continent like the (EU) that's unacceptable", She opined. She further went on to say that both the Cabinet Ministers and Parliamentarians should know the repercussions of what the (EU) is stating, therefore, she said, the Gambia Government should not see it as an insult but take them as measures to enforce to make Gambia a democratic state. She also concluded by urging the Gambian authorities to re-open Taranga Fm Radio, Daily newspaper, and The Standard Newspaper.

Mr. Lamin Bah, a 40-year old man and a resident of Pipeline, postulated that it is true that the Gambia signed and ratified the agreement between the Government and the European Union which called for Political Dialogue but the (EU) should have been more professional and diplomatic towards conducting a peaceful relation with its partners. He further stated that the (EU) should have negotiated with the government of the Gambia instead of issuing ultimatums, because Gambia is a Sovereign Republic. He intimated that, if the (EU) is really ready to provide the funds to the Gambia as agreed by both parties, they should dialogue and negotiate rather than undermine the peace and security of the Gambia. Mr. Bah also further posited that if, the (EU) does not want to grant the aid to the Gambia, let them leave it and stop the provocations, he concluded.

Mr. Sekou Singhateh, a 33-year-old man, on his part, acknowledged the fact that the agreement was signed by the Gambia, but that does not mean they should impose conditions on the Gambia He also went on to say that there may be ramifications and repercussions if the government of the Gambia does not comply, it would be very detrimental towards the socio-economic development of the Gambia. He further postulated that it would only lead to the drastic price increment of basic commodities and taxes for Gambians, he concluded.

Mrs. Ida Jatta, a 35-year-old woman and a resident of Serekunda also expressed similar sentiments regarding the EU/ Gambia relations. According to Mrs. Jatta, the (EU) should negotiate with the Gambia. She said the EU could incite violence and in that vein, Ida Jatta said, the Government of the Gambia should engage them in dialogue and negotiate peacefully to reach a mechanism to enable them continue to support the Gambia, because she said, the funds will go a long way towards improving the Socio-economic development of the Gambia. She further opined that it would help to curb the issue of skyrocketing of basic commodities and urges the Gambia Government to try and re-open Taranga FM Radio, Daily newspaper, and Standard Newspapers respectively. Mrs. Jatta summed up by urging both parties to come to the negotiating desk and use diplomacy for a peaceful agreement.

Mr. Lamin Trawally, a 38-year-year old man and also dilated on the issues regarding the EU/Gambia statements. According to Mr. Trawally, the Gambia Government should concur with the (17) seventeen points issued by the (EU). He also stipulated that the agreement was done in Cotonou in 2000 and renewed in 2005. He opined that putting into consideration the Human rights situation in the Gambia and based on the fact that the status of media freedom is a cause for concern, and further highlighting that the (EU) has sponsored many development projects in the Gambia, he said it means that the EU is working cordially with the people and the Gambia Government and in that case, the Government should concur with them for the best interest of the country, he concluded.

And according to one old woman who is in her late 50s but choose to remain anonymous on her part, said the Gambia Government should just try and accept the 17 points raised by the (EU) so that the country would benefit from the (EU) because he said the (EU) is doing a lot for the Gambia. He said if they should stop granting aid to the Gambia, it would drastically affect our economy. She further dilated that the people should pray and negotiate with them for the Gambia to benefit because what the EU does for the Gambia is unquantifiable, she opined.

Mr. Tapha Bojang, a 48-year-old man and a resident of Churchill's Town also expressed opinion by asserting that the EU just wants these 17 recommendations implemented because it's for the development of the Gambia and its people. Mr. Bojang further posited that the reason why the EU has stipulated these points for discussion with the government of the Gambia is simply because it has signed an agreement to respect human rights and rule of law. Therefore, he said, the EU is reminding the Gambia Government to implement good and democratic laws and policies and it is only good and democratic laws that brings development, peace and stability to a country.

EDITOR'S NOTE
We would like all Gambians and concerned persons to review the 17 points and form an opinion on each of them to determine whether Gambians have been making such suggestions before the EU came up with them or not. People should know the points at issue before forming an opinion.

Source: Foroyaa

A clear conscience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone
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Momodou



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10896 Posts

Posted - 14 Jan 2013 :  18:31:27  Show Profile Send Momodou a Private Message
THE GAMBIA GOVERNMENT, THE EU AND THE PEOPLE

Foroyaa Editorial: Published on Monday, 14 January 2013

FOROYAA is concerned that what is fundamentally a major concern for all Gambians irrespective of party affiliation is being trivialised by political rhetoric. The Gambia Government is very much aware that the points raised by the EU are not new. The two entities have been dealing with the core issues for years.

Each Gambian should think for himself or herself by taking the 17 points and analyzing them to form an informed opinion.

No Gambian could deny that Taranga FM was evolving to be a Radio station which hosted divergent views and very enlightening opinion that Gambians irrespective of party affiliation appreciated and commended including the Majority leader who was a frequent guest of the station.

The Authority that should recommend the withdrawal of its licence is PURA . When the station was closed Foroyaa approached PURA for explanation and they made it categorically clear that they knew nothing about the closure. At that time the Ministry responsible for the media did not even have a Minister. It was directly under the Office of the President. The members of the media fraternity and the GPU in particular have made all kinds of representation but to no avail. The media houses in the Gambia are financially weak. Most of them are indebted and exist on overdraft. Hence to close them down even for a week is to drive them to total bankruptcy. Many countries that are committed to the media are not only exempting them from taxation but are even providing duty waivers for publishing materials and even subventions so that people would be informed, entertained, educated and given cultural orientation. The Gambia Government should not wait for the EU to tell it that it should create an environment conducive for the free operation of the media in the country. This is the dictate of section 207 of the Constitution which reads:

"(1). The freedom and independence of the press and other information media are hereby guaranteed.

(2). An Act of the National assembly may make provisions for the establishment and operation of the press and other information media.

(3). The press and other information media shall at all times, be free to uphold the principles, provisions and objectives of this Constitution, and the responsibility and accountability of the Government to the people of The Gambia."

Furthermore, section 208 of the Constitution states:

"All state owned newspapers, journals, radio and television shall afford fair opportunities and facilities for the presentation of divergent views and dissenting opinion."

Furthermore, the Government of the Gambia should not have uttered a single word about being recolonised while Imam Baba Leigh is in custody. Its role is to protect the liberty, security and prosperity of the citizenry. The sovereignty of the country resides in the people. Hence people like Baba Leigh should have been released and the media houses allowed to operate before issuing any Government statement on the 17 items transmitted to the Gambia Government for action. You should read and digest them and form your opinion. The seventeen items are as follows:

1. Commitment of Government of the Gambia to allow the free operation of independent media in The Gambia within a deadline of one month;

2. Removal of restrictive barriers/monetary/regulatory to registration and licensing of the media;

3. Removal of restriction on accessing and sharing information electronically within one month;

4. Revision of provision in the criminal code that allow for prosecution on the charges of sedition, libel, false publication and false information to a public servant within 6 months,

5. Revision of laws on freedom of expression and media regulations within 24 months

6. Upholding of moratorium on death penalty with immediate effect

7. Provision of information regarding the recent executions, and including location of burial to families within one month

8. Review of the death penalty by the National Assembly within 12 months

9. Review of the death penalty by the National Assembly and to propose to introduce a de jure moratorium within 24 months

10. Review of the provision of the death penalty in the element of the criminal code and other laws for most serious crimes within six months

11. That the Government sign and ratify the second optional protocol to the international covenant on civil and political rights within 18 months

12. Conclusion of an MOU with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to allow them access to prison facilities on regular basis within 3 months

13. Provision of regular and timely access for diplomatic corps within one month

14. Presentation of costed proposals to improve prison detention facility condition within 12 months

15. Provision of information on the UN Convention against torture ratified on June 6th 2006 within 3 months

16. Signing of the optional protocols to the convention against torture within 6 months

17. Establishment of the Human Rights Commission proposed by the Commonwealth secretariat.

Source: Foroyaa Editorial

A clear conscience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone
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Momodou



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10896 Posts

Posted - 18 Jan 2013 :  18:39:19  Show Profile Send Momodou a Private Message
VOX POP- ON THE EUíS 17 POINT PROPOSAL FOR DIALOGUE

By Samba Bah & Pateh Baldeh
Foroyaa: Published on Friday, 18 January 2013



Foroyaa has been up and about to sound people's opinion on the European Union's seventeen point proposal for dialogue with the Government of The Gambia.

According to Lamin John, a 29-year-old man and a resident of Banjul, after completing high school, he proceeded to Trust Communications Training Institute,

where he pursued a Diploma and an advanced Diploma in Banking and Finance, a couple of years ago. He said he is yet to grab a job. When quizzed if he is aware of the Gambia-EU standoff, he responded in the affirmative and expressed his concerns about the recent arrest and detention of the prominent religious leader, Imam Baba Leigh, which he said is very serious and would just aggravate the human rights situation and tarnish the image of the Gambia. Mr. John also went on to say that the government should concur with the proposals of the EU, and then find a peaceful resolution to human rights violations in the country, because it would affect the Gambia economically, socially and psychologically. He then summed up by urging the government to negotiate with the EU because the 17 points are fundamental in any democratic state.

Mr. Lamin Gassama, a 28-year-old man and a resident of James Senegal, in Banjul and an Upper Basic school teacher by profession, was asked if he is aware of the EU-Gambia standoff and he responded in the affirmative and asserted that the EU is a genuine development partner of the Gambia, and that the Government should employ non antagonistic mechanisms in dealing with such good partner He said confrontation won't solve anything but would only worsen it. He further posited that the EU is spending staggering sums of money in the Gambia, which is commendable.

When asked about the human rights situation of the Gambia, he added that everybody is aware of what has happened to Imam Leigh and urged the Government to reconsider its stance on the 17 points by agreeing to the proposals of the EU, because he said it's all about democracy and press freedom and the respect for the rule of law which he opined are paramount. He also postulated that the EU is not asking Gambia to sacrifice its sovereignty but to be committed to what it has signed and ratified on behalf of its citizenry. He also highlighted that the cost of living is becoming more difficult than ever before, so for the government to help the people out of this menace, he said it should definitely reconsider its decisions regarding the EU for the sake of its people. He added that because if the EU ceases to support us then the masses would bear the brunt of it particularly the poor. He summed up by urging the Government to abide by the 17 points because he said if they are implemented the Gambia will progress rapidly.

Mrs. Adama Cham, a 25-year-old and a resident of the same place on her part, expressed deep concern over the arrest and detention of Imam Baba Leigh and the recent closure of the Daily and Standard newspapers.

When asked if she's aware of the recent standoff between the EU and the Gambia Government; she said of course everybody is now fully aware of the problem, but the gospel truth, she opined is that the EU is right in pursuing the Gambia to enforce the 17 points but said that the only mistake they did she thinks is by issuing ultimatums. She said that it was not necessary and even though there are frequent arrests of journalists and the closure of newspapers but that should have not warranted ultimatums. She concluded by appealing to the Government to analyze the issues constructively and try to implement them especially the issues of human rights and press freedoms.

Mr Babucarr Bah on his part rubbished the EU's 17 points and said they want to destabilize the country and introduce their culture in the Gambia. When asked, if the arrest and detention of Baba Leigh is justifiable and the recent closure of Taranga F.M. Radio and the two newspapers, he said, "I don't agree with gay marriage and lesbianism". When informed of the 17 issues which had nothing to do with his claim of same sex marriage, he apologised and said that he didn't know what was happening and advised the government to implement the human right provisions and facilitate the release of Imam Baba Leigh.

Some people in Brikama also took the opportunity to express their opinion on the EU 17 points proposal.

Bolong Jabang said he has seen nothing special in the EU proposal as far as the constitution of the Gambia is concerned. He said going through the 17 points, he sees nothing contradictory as regards the laws of the Gambia. He said the recommendations are geared towards promoting democracy and good governance. He said what is happening in the Gambia regarding arrests and detentions without trial, the disappearance of people without any knowledge of what they have done, should stop. He said the fundamental rights and freedoms of all Gambians should be protected. He also talked about the need for freedom of expression and the media as well as freedom of conscience, assembly, association and movement.

Jabang further questioned the whereabouts of Imam Baba Leigh who has been detained for almost two months without being taken before any law court, and the continued disappearance of Journalist Chief Manneh, the former Chief of Foni Kansala among others whose whereabouts he said are still not disclosed or known. He said government should treat all citizens equally before the law.

Regarding the demonstration conducted by civil servants and the APRC supporters in Banjul, Jabang opined that the demonstration was even done without any properly informing the people . He therefore challenged the National Assembly Members to go back to the electorates to inform them properly and allow them to speak their minds on the subject.

Another person also expressed similar remarks while expressing preference for anonymity despite encouragement to express his views freely. He said that he is in support of the EU proposal for good governance and democracy where all citizens will be free to exercise their civic rights, duties and responsibilities. The said that if such an issue arises, a national consultation should have been conducted before any open reaction and people must be informed exactly what the 17 points proposal are rather than misinforming and agitating them against the EU on the basis that they are forcing the government to legislate same sex marriages.

He also suggested for the reopening of Taranga FM and Daily Newspaper and the Standard Newspaper to allow people to express their opinions on public radio and tv when such issues arise.

Source: Foroyaa

A clear conscience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone
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Momodou



Denmark
10896 Posts

Posted - 18 Jan 2013 :  18:43:24  Show Profile Send Momodou a Private Message
DISTORTIONS OF THE 17 EU POINTS FOR POLITICAL DIALOGUE SAME SEX MARRIAGE IS NOT ONE OF THE POINTS PROPOSED BY THE EU

Foroyaa Editorial: Published on Friday, 18 January 2013



A propaganda wave has started. The impression is being given that the Europeans want to bend the arm of the Government of the Gambia to allow a law for same sex marriages in the country. The Gambian people need to understand what is fact and what is fiction.

Foroyaa has said before that same sex marriage is yet to be a burning issue in the Gambia.

Same sex relationships becomes an issue in a country when a group of people come together to make public declaration of their sexual orientation and protest that they are subjected to imprisonment, torture or death for declaring their status. The act of imprisoning, torturing or killing them for declaring their status is what would be considered a human right violation. In the Gambia no group exists as of now that is promoting same sex marriage. Hence what is worth preaching against is the incommunicado detention of Baba Leigh without trial.

In fact, the state did arrest many young people some time ago and made propaganda on the case only to drop the charges. The young people were subjected to trial by press and suffered humiliation and degradation before being released even though all pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against them. All those who value human rights denounced the unfair treatment the young people were subjected to.

It is wrong to give the impression that same sex relationships belong or does not belong to Western or Eastern; African or European culture. In countries like France where the call for same sex marriage has become very strong the opponents of the practice have recently been demonstrating for the state not to recognise such marriages. The demonstrators belong to the Christian, Muslim and Jewish faiths. Western society like all societies in the world are going through changes because of contesting values emanating from television, radio ,internet, books, travels and rapid and extensive interactions between people and cultures. What we need are mature and tolerant citizens who could help to give the type of socialisation that would help young people to be their better selves and adopt values that enhance their welfare and happiness and those of others.

All those who have read the seventeen points raised by the EU for the political dialogue should know by now that they raised issues of concerns to the Gambian citizens. There is nothing alien or strange or an affront to Gambian culture or the values of the religious groups in any of the points. They had made no recommendation for the Government to enact a law accepting same sex marriages. Foroyaa would beg the indulgence of our readers to publish the following seventeen points raised by the EU for their political dialogue with the Gambia, to help to combat the misinformation campaign:

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A clear conscience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone
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