Protesters gather outside the Gambian embassy in Senegal on August 30, 2012 to demand President Yahya Jammeh halt the mass execution of prisoners. (Photo AFP/GettyImages)
While many nations have eliminated the threat of execution by abolishing the death penalty, the president of the Gambia is taking a very different and far more troubling approach. President Yahya Jammeh pledged recently in a televised broadcast to empty his country’s death row by executing all its prisoners by mid-September. This West African nation about the size of Connecticut had not executed anyone in more than a quarter of a century. In the past week alone, authorities have executed at least nine people.
A rising number of organizations and governments around the world are calling on President Jammeh to stop the executions, including the Gambia’s neighbor, Senegal, along with the African Union, the European Union, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and Amnesty International.
Fall is my favorite time of year: the air is cooler, the leaves are pretty, Amnesty International student groups are back together again, and people start signing up for the Write for Rights Global Write-a-thon.
In this—the world’s largest human rights event—we use letters, cards and more to demand the human rights of individuals are respected, protected and fulfilled. We show solidarity with those suffering abuses and work to improve people’s lives.