Gambia celebrated this Sunday, February 18, the 53rd anniversary of its independence. As usual, a ceremony was held in Banjul, the capital, with a series of parades on the grounds of McCarthy Square.
In his speech, Gambian President Adama Barrow announced a moratorium on the death penalty, a step towards its abolition.
“I will take this opportunity to announce a moratorium on the use of the death penalty in the Gambia, a first step towards its abolition,” said Adama Barrow.
Last September, the successor of Yayah Jammeh announced before the UN platform, the ratification of the treaty on the abolition of the death penalty.
“We won the war against the dictatorship, but it was the easiest part. Our greatest challenge will be maintaining peace for our democracy.”
“The mistakes are inevitable, but we will correct them as we try to perfect the new Gambia,” reassured the President.
The death penalty was last applied under the Jammeh regime in 2012, when nine soldiers were executed by firing squad.
Other French-speaking West African countries such as Benin, the Republic of Congo and Guinea have all taken measures to end the death penalty in recent years, but the English-speaking countries of the region are the train.
Human rights defenders hope more states will follow the example of The Gambia.