HC Deb 04 May 2000 vol 349 c216W
Mr. McDonnell

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will review the Government's aid to the Government of The Gambia following the recent deaths of demonstrators in pro-democracy marches. [120302]

Clare Short

We remain deeply concerned at the death and injury of students in the demonstrations on 10 and 11 April. The UK made immediate representations to the Government of The Gambia protesting at the handling of the demonstrations. A Coroners Inquest is already sitting and a full Commission of Inquiry is being set up to establish responsibility for the events. We continue to monitor the situation closely and urge the Government of The Gambia to ensure the inquiry is independently led, transparent, and free from political interference.

Since the resumption of our development programme in The Gambia in 1998, we have committed over £4 million to projects through government and civil society, aimed at improved governance, social inclusion, education management and capacity building for community based organisations. We are keeping the programme under constant review in the light of the Government's policies for the reduction of poverty, and respect for human rights.