The European Union looking is looking to withhold budgetary aid and impose travel bans on human rights violators in the West African nation of The Gambia after its parliament unanimously voted a resolution calling on the commission and its member states to consider freezing all non-humanitarian assistance to the #Government of The Gambia and imposing bans and other targeted sanctions on its officials.

The Resolution on The Gambia 2016/2693(RSP) on fundamental freedoms, human rights, democracy in general was tabled before the EU Parliament on Thursday following the ongoing violations of fundamental freedoms, human rights, democracy, arbitrary arrests and deadly targeting of opposition leaders and their members.

EU is the Gambia’s main development partner since the mid-1970s and funded nearly all of The Gambia's infrastructure and roads construction works. It has expressed “deep concerns” about the rapidly-worsening security and human rights situation the world’s newest Islamic republic.

Brutal crackdown on peaceful protesters

Last month, security forces used excessive force against peaceful demonstrators and the union has since called for swift and independent investigations into these events in which the UN said at least three people have died including a senior opposition figure, Ebrima Solo Sandeng. Sandeng was the opposition UDP Organizing Secretary. He with at least 30 others were arrested on April 14 during a peaceful demonstration staged at Westfield Junction in Serrekunda. The peaceful protesters were demanding for justice and electoral reforms.

His reported death sparked anger among the party members and other Gambians who joined a peaceful protest led by the party leader Ousainou Darboe and executive members calling for his release dead or alive. They were equally arrested and now detained at the state central prison of Mile II and facing criminal charges at the High Court.

New European Union demands

“Parliament firmly condemns the forced disappearances, arbitrary detention, torture, and other human rights violations targeting dissenting voices against the government of President Yahya Jammeh, such as journalists, human rights defenders, political opponents, and critics, as well as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people” the EU parliament said in a statement.

The union’s legislators have called for the immediate release of all protestors arrested during demonstrations and urged the international community to actively monitor the December elections in The Gambia that has already been marred by political violence, arrest and killings.

Incumbent President Yahya Jammeh who came to power since 1994 is seeking for a fifth term. Activists and rights group have been calling for targeted sanctions against President Yahya Jammeh and his close associates. The Human Rights Campaign and 15 other rights groups last week urged the White House to impose sanctions against the African strongman who has threatened to behead homosexuals order to send a clear message that continued human rights violations will place a more severe strain on U.S-Gambian relations. #World Politics #Foreign Affairs