The Gambia withdraws from the Commonwealth of Nations, by José Ángel Rueda

On 3 October 2013 the Gambia notified the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth of Nations of its withdrawal from the organisation to which it belonged since its independence from Britain in 1965. 

The Secretary-General posted the following statement at its website:

4 October 2013

I have this evening received with regret the advice that an Executive decision has been taken by the Government of the Republic of The Gambia to withdraw from the Commonwealth with effect from 3 October 2013.

This separation from the people of The Gambia is a disappointment for the Commonwealth family at large.

I recall with appreciation the warmth with which I was received when I visited Banjul last year. An extensive programme of collaboration and partnership was agreed to support The Gambia’s social and political progress as well as the advancement of the fundamental values of democracy, development and respect for diversity to which all member governments of the modern Commonwealth subscribe. Many Commonwealth citizens – old and young – will similarly have positive recollections and connections dating back over The Gambia’s longstanding membership, since it joined our association in 1965.  

We look forward to The Gambia’s return to the Commonwealth.[1]

Some news reports claim that the withdrawal might be related to some demonstrations against President Yahya Jammeh in front of his New York hotel during his recent attendance to the 68th. United Nations General Assembly.[2] In his speech before the Assembly President Jammeh angrily criticized Western powers and their colonization of Africa and Asia.[3]

According to internationally recognised statistics, The Gambia is one of the poorest countries in the world and has a poor track record on human right issues.[4]