Senegal: Gambia's child rights body urges Jammeh to step down

Dakar, Senegal (PANA) – Gambia's Child Protection Alliance (CPA) has called on outgoing President Yahya Jammeh to step down peacefully following his electoral defeat.

''In the name of the children who you have always claimed to love and will die for, we urge you to recognize and honour the verdict of the presidential election and handover the rein of the State to the President-elect as constitutionally required,'' the child rights body said in a statement obtained by PANA in Dakar, Senegal, on Wednesday.

Gambia's Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) on 2 December declared Adama Barrow winner of the 1 December presidential election while President Jammeh conceded defeat and congratulated Barrow for his victory.

But a week later, Jammeh made a declaration on state media rejecting the election results and calling for fresh vote.

Since then the tiny west african nation has been thrown into political uncertainty as Jammeh refuses to step down peacefully.

''Children, the constituency whose rights we advocate for, form about half of the Gambian population. They did not take part in the election to determine the winner, being underage to vote.

''However, children, like adults, have a great stake in every matter that affects the body politik of the country. In fact, this country in essence belongs to children.

''Thus, any potential fallout from your refusal to recognise the election result and the President-elect will adversely affect the future we want to build for our children, their education, health, protection, development and survival. Indisputably children suffer the most when conflict, economic hardship and other troubles befall a country,'' the CPA statement noted.

The child rights body underlined its position that Jammeh gracefully hands over power to President-elect Barrow and avert any situation that would lead to a massive violation of the rights of children.

''You owe it to our children to just do the right thing. Our children must be taught to know that power resides with the people and leaders are neither above the law nor more powerful than the people who elect them into office,'' the statement added.

CPA is a child rights coalition which promotes respect for the rights of children, enhances capacity of frontline child protectors and professionals, engages in research and advocates for policy and legal reforms in the best interests of children in Gambia.

-0- PANA MLJ/AR 21Dec2016

21 december 2016 16:16:11

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