Adama Dieng. Photo: UN/Amanda Voisard(JollofNews) – The United Nations Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide has condemned President Yahya Jammeh’s threats to “kill” Mandinkas in The Gambia.

“I am profoundly alarmed by President Jammeh’s public stigmatization, dehumanization and threats against the Mandinka,”Adama Dieng said Friday.

“Public statements of this nature by a national leader are irresponsible and extremely dangerous. They can contribute to dividing populations, feed suspicion and serve to incite violence against communities, based solely on their identity,”Mr Dieng said.

In a speech he made in Tallinding on June 3,  President Jammeh called the Mandinkas “enemies, foreigners” and threatened to kill them one by one and place them “where even a fly cannot see them.”

The special adviser said he is appalled by President Jammeh’s “vitriolic rhetoric,” as history has shown that hate speech that constitutes incitement to violence can be both a warning sign and a powerful trigger for atrocity crimes.

President Yahya Jammeh
President Yahya Jammeh

“We have seen, in Rwanda, Bosnia – and more recently in the Middle East – how incitement to violence has led to mass killings along identity lines,” he said.

He reminded Jammeh that any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence is prohibited under international human rights law as well as under national legislation.

He also said States have the primary responsibility to protect their populations and  In 2005, all Heads of State and Government acknowledged the responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, as well as their incitement.

“I urge the President of the Gambia to fulfill this responsibility,” said the Special Adviser, “and ensure that the rights of all populations of the Gambia are respected, irrespective of ethnicity or political affiliation.”