The calls for the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) recommendation to be implemented has been intensified with 16 national and international human rights organizations, including Amnesty International sending letter to Dawda A. Jallow, Minister of Justice and Attorney General for implementation.
The demand is in respect as the Gambian government is working on finalising in the coming weeks the white paper that will provide the roadmap for the implementation of the TRRC recommendations.
The16 national and international human rights organizations, including Amnesty International that signed the letter to Minister are namely; African Network against Extrajudicial Killings and Enforced Disappearances, Female Lawyers Association-Gambia, The Gender Platform, Gambia Press Union, Human Rights Watch, Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa, International Commission of Jurists,Solo Sandeng Foundation, The Association of Non-Governmental Organizations in The Gambia, Think Young Women, The Toufah Foundation, Trial International, Gambia Center for Victims of Human Rights Violations, Women’s Association for Victims’ Empowerment, and Women in Liberation and Leadership .
“Through this letter, the signatory organizations are calling on the Gambian government to ensure that the process of producing the white paper is inclusive and involves the victims. The letter also urges the Gambian government to ensure that combating impunity is an essential part of its roadmap. Make sure that victims have the right to obtain truth, justice and reparations.
We are calling on the Gambian government for transparency in this whole process. It should continue to communicate in a transparent, regular and clear way about the evolution of the white paper and publish it by 25 May,” Amnesty International said in a statement made available on Thursday.
“The publication of the white paper coincides with the first months of President Barrow’s second administration. For us, the content of the white paper will be an indicator of the government’s real commitment to justice and accountability,” the statement added.
According to Amnesty International, when the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) were launched in 2018, Gambians and the international community celebrated the government’s decision to establish a record of the crimes and abuses of the Yahya Jammeh period.
“The TRRC provided an opportunity for two hundred and twenty-nine victims of Jammeh’s government to be heard, as well as taking testimony from former government insiders such as ministers, police and intelligence chiefs, and members of the “Junglers” hit squad.
The TRRC hearings, broadcast on radio and television with interpretation into local languages, had a profound impact on Gambian society,” the statement said.
“Last year, we also welcomed the TRRC recommendations, which called for prosecutions of the crimes committed, as an encouraging first step to ensure that survivors and victims’ families finally get justice and reparations.
We applauded the government’s decision to release the report in a public ceremony on 24 December and to make the entire report immediately available on-line,” Amnesty International said on Thursday.
“As the government is working on finalising in the coming weeks the white paper that will provide the roadmap for the implementation of the TRRC recommendations, we would like to raise some of our hopes and concerns.
First of all, we hope that the process followed by your administration to produce this document is inclusive and involves the victims of abuses during Jammeh’s government, as well as civil society.
We welcome the national discussion on the TRRC report this week between your department, some civil society and victim-led organisations as an important and encouraging step to ensure inclusion of victims in the process,” the statement pointed out.
The statement urged that victims and affected communities should be consulted and should be able to contribute to the decision-making process, the prioritization and the designing of measures with regards to matters that concern them.
“In this spirit, we hope you will go beyond the TRRC recommendations and consider the demands of the victims who did not participate in the TRRC hearings, namely regarding sexual and genderbased violence.
We also urge you to ensure that combating impunity is an essential part of the government’s roadmap. Victims have a right to receive truth, justice and reparations,” the statement noted.
The statement also stated that the TRRC found that crimes against humanity had been committed and that Yahya Jammeh and 69 other named perpetrators were responsible for 44 specific crimes, including murder, torture, rape and sexual violence, enforced disappearance, and called for their prosecution.
The stressed that the government should thus ensure that enough resources are dedicated so that prompt, thorough and impartial investigations are conducted, and alleged perpetrators are prosecuted in fair trials within a reasonable time and before an independent and impartial tribunal with no recourse to the death penalty.
“In addition, as recommended by the TRRC, legislation must be adopted or modified accordingly to avoid a repetition of the crimes committed and combat impunity,” the statement noted.