By Sanna Camara
The agenda for dialogue causing a much-talked-about boycott of an ongoing dialogue process by Gambia government with the Eurpran Union which forms part of a development cooperation signed b both parties, has been once again uravelled.
Last Friday, Gambians were greeted with shocking news that The Gambia government’s “strong and open declaration that it will no longer entertain any dialogue on the acceptance of homosexuality with the European Union and any other bloc for that matter”.
The siged copertion dubbed “the Cotonou Agreement” require certain development, governance nd other standards which the governents agreed to bserve. Article 8 of the Agreement deals with political dialogue which states that the Parties shall regularly engage in a comprehensive, balanced and deep political dialogue leading to commitments on both sides.
facilitate consultations between parties within international fora
The objective of this dialogue, according to this document, “shall be to exchange information, to foster mutual understanding, and to facilitate the establishment of agreed priorities and shared agendas, in particular by recognising existing links between the different aspects of the relations between the Parties and the various areas of cooperation…”
It added that the dialogue “shall facilitate consultations between the Parties within international fora.” The objectives of the dialogue shall also include preventing situations arising in which one Party might deem it necessary to have recourse to the consultation procedures envisaged in Articles 96 and 97.
The EU development strategy for Gambia focuses on infrastructure (transport & energy) and regional interconnectivity and governance. The EU is providing well over €73m (D3258 million) up to 2013 under the European Development Fund, including support under the MDG Initiative.
A free operation of independent media in The Gambia
The agreement is centered aroung certain uiversally recognised standard, among them the issue of free operation of independent media in The Gambia, removal of restrictive barriers/monetary/regulatory to registration and licensing of the media ad the removal of restriction on accessing and sharing information electronically.
Also, the 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, revision of laws on freedom of expression and media regulations, upholding of moratorium on death penalty.
The provision of information regarding the executions, and including location of burial to families, review of the death penalty by the National Assembly and the review of the provision of the death penalty in the element of the criminal code and other laws for most serious crimes.
Access to prison facilities on regular basis.
That the Government sign and ratify the second optional protocol to the international covenant on civil and political rights and the conclusion of an MOU with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to allow them access to prison facilities on regular basis.
Presentation of costed proposals to improve prison detention facility condition, provision of information on the UN Convention against torture ratified on June 6th 2006 within 3 months, signing of the optional protocols to the convention against torture within 6 months and the establishment of the Human Rights Commission proposed by the Commonwealth Secretariat.
just before the resuing of this dialoge in december 2014, Gambia government came up with a statement read on State TV on Friday and Saturday night by the Gambia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bala Garba Jahumpa.
‘Gambia will never be a party to the dialogue with the EU’
According to reports, government declared among other things, it will never be a party to the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the EU, as “it is designed to continue the exploitation and impoverishment of the African continent”.
“As from today, we are no longer going to entertain any dialogue on the issue with the European Union or any other foreign power for that matter. Our country’s socio-economic development depends only on the Almighty Allah’s benevolence.
“We also hereby declare that The Gambia will always be an independent, dignified Allah-worshipping Muslim country, where our way of life, our laws will be based on our Islamic values, that is, the strict adherence to our Islamic faith. This being the case, any agreement, convention or protocol that is at variance with our Islamic faith, economic prosperity and our national security interest will be surely rejected outright,” the statement said.