BANJUL, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) -- The Commonwealth has expressed concern about the recent execution of nine death row prisoners in the west African nation of Gambia, Spokesperson and Director of Communications and Public Affairs Richard Uku said in a message send to the Gambian authority.
Since the first media reports of the executions, the Commonwealth Secretariat had sought verification of the facts from the Gambian government.
The confirmation by the government on Monday that these executions were indeed carried out made this a matter of "grave concern", Mr Uku said.
Speaking on behalf of Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma, Uku said the Commonwealth called on the government of The Gambia to renounce plans for any further executions.
"The Secretary-General wishes to emphasize to the government of the Gambia that all members of the Commonwealth have subscribed to Commonwealth values, which reflect the highest international standards of the rule of law," the spokesperson said.
In this context, Uku noted that the Commonwealth and the government of the Gambia agreed during the Secretary-General's visit to Banjul in April this year that the Commonwealth would help the country establish a human rights commission, as well as a human rights division and institutional support for its Judicial Services Commission and Judicial Education Institute.
The Commonwealth is an intergovernmental organization of 54 independent member states. All members except Mozambique and Rwanda were part of the British Empire out of which Commonwealth developed.
The west African nation joined the Commonwealth organization in 1965 after gaining its independent from Britain.
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