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Gambia: UN adviser condemns President’s reported threats against ethnic group

Africa

Gambia: UN adviser condemns President’s reported threats against ethnic group

The United Nations Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide has condemned the inflammatory speech by the President of the Gambia, Yahya Jammeh of the Gambia at a political rally this past week, in which he reportedly threatened to eliminate the Mandinka ethnic group.

In a note to correspondents, Adama Dieng, the UN Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide, said that on 3 June in Tallinding, President Jammeh allegedly referred to the Mandinka as “enemies, foreigners” and threatened to kill them one by one and place them “where even a fly cannot see them.”

“I am profoundly alarmed by President Jammeh’s public stigmatization, dehumanization and threats against the Mandinka,” the Special Adviser said.

“Public statements of this nature by a national leader are irresponsible and extremely dangerous. They can contribute to dividing populations, feed suspicion and serve to incite violence against communities, based solely on their identity,” he added.

Mr. Dieng said he was particularly appalled by President Jammeh’s “vitriolic rhetoric,” as history has shown that hate speech that constitutes incitement to violence can be both a warning sign and a powerful trigger for atrocity crimes.

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