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Peace Hub The Gambia says hate speech a threat to national unity, security

Jul 7, 2021, 11:53 AM

In a Statement released yesterday morning, the NGO Peace Hub The Gambia expressed concern with the rising trends of hate speech in the media and across public platforms. The NGO considers these as “a major threat” to the country’s national peace and security as December 4th nears.

“We call on all Gambians, home and abroad to consider it as a revered responsibility to shun and discourage our constituents from casting bigotry statements against others and peddling hate speech in our communities including social media,” their statement said. 

We hereunder reproduce the full text of the statement:

“Monday 6th July 2021: Recently, we have observed with dismay proliferation of hate and incendiary speeches—potential violent conflict drivers—making across different social media. We condemn this in the strongest possible term!

2021, for obvious reasons, is a critical political year for The Gambia—the first Presidential election post 22years dictatorial regime. Arguably, there has never been a period when interest and stakes in politics are this high. Ever! This developmentis worthwhile to be proud of as citizens of this country. Unfortunately, every genuine Gambian is concerned by intolerance behavior of and use of vulgar language by certain people against fellow Gambians for reasons they know best.

Peace Hub The Gambia is concerned by this situation and considers it as a major threat to our national peace and security as December 4th nears. We call on all Gambians, home and abroad to consider it as a revered responsibility to shun and discourage our constituents from casting bigotry statements against others and peddling hate speech in our communities including social media.

Like our forebearers, we should continue to treasure our “Gambianness” above any classification, celebrate our diversity and appreciate dissent, safeguard our peace and tranquility, and promote unity and development. This in itself is democracy as the political ideology is beyond voting and encompasses respect for opinions different from one’s own and rule of law.

We applaud Government agencies, political parties and their leaders, civil society organizations, activists and young people who came out to condemn potential violent conflict drivers, however, as country, we should consider punishing culprits of such behavior as justice is a critical pillar in building peaceful communities.

In conclusion, Government and political leaders are a role model to so many people.  Wechallenge youdivert your traits to inspire into encouraging and championing the fight against hate speech, dangerous stereotype and promote the one Gambian culture that has long unite us and held our social fabric together.

December 4th, 2021, is not the end of The Gambia. There are many generations beyond, if they matter to us and we them want to remember us as great sons and daughters of this country, they set us up for a challenged.”

 Peace Hub The Gambia, a peacebuilding and social cohesion organization, established to create a conducive environment for young people in peacebuilding, promote social cohesion and reconciliation, as well as strengthen The Gambia’s Transitional Justice processes, calls for refrain from spreading hate speech and encourages the promotion of peace and social harmony.

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