The defunct Truth-Seeking body (TRRC), in its recommendations to the Government of the Gambia emphasised that partners who have signed Memoranda with the Commission need to respect the agreements in their respective MoU to ensure that the gains made are not lost and that the country heals and reconciles.
In this edition of Foroyaa we continue with the serialisation on Reconciliation and also reproduced the recommendations on Memorialisation as recommended by the Commission and Government’s Position on the ‘White Paper.’
Similarly, women in The Gambia have demonstrated great skills in recognising the pain and fears within and between families and communities and often are amongst the first to start dialogues to promote peace in communities. The Government will therefore engage and empower these groups to play a significant role in the national peacebuilding agenda.
Mrs. Adelaide Sosseh, former TRRC Deputy Chair and then Chairperson for the Reparations Committee.
Partners who have signed MoU’s with the TRRC need to respect the agreements in their respective MoU to ensure that the gains made are not lost and that the country heals and reconciles.
The Government notes the recommendation of the Commission and recognizes the important role non-government and civil society organisations have played and continue to play in the transitional justice process. Cognizance of this, the Government will continue to support and collaborate with these organisations in moving from a divided past to a shared future.
The National Youth Council should promote national healing and reconciliation through its peace organisations and networks.
The Government notes the recommendation of the Commission and recognizes the important role the National Youth Council (NYC) through its dynamic networks played and continues to play in the transitional justice process. Cognizance of this, the Government will continue to support and collaborate with the NYC to promote national healing and reconciliation through its peace organisations and networks.
Gambian organisations in the Diaspora need to follow-up on agreements and recommendations emanating out of the 2019 Diaspora engagement.
The Government notes the recommendation of the Commission and appreciates the important role Gambian organisations in the Diaspora played and continue to play in the transitional justice process. Cognisance
of this, the Government will continue to engage Gambians in the diaspora in national development processes.
The United Nations system in the country and the international community who have invested so much in the TRRC processes have an important monitoring role to ensure that post-TRRC agreements and mechanisms are implemented in society.
Representative of the Victim Centre and Former TRRC Staff on a proposed MoU.
The Government notes the recommendation of the Commission. The support of the United Nations system in the country and the international community in the transitional justice process cannot be overemphasised. The Government will continue to collaborate with them to realise its objectives of fully restoring good governance, democracy, and respect for human rights in The Gambia.
In the context of transitional justice, memorialization is used to honour victims of human rights abuses. Memorialisation is a key feature of the National Strategy for Transitional Justice in The Gambia and formed part of the TRRCs Reparations mandate as it contributes to the acknowledgment of victims and documenting of past human rights violations. As a symbolic reparation, memorialisation can play a pivotal role in driving societies towards reconciliation and transformation by providing opportunities for dialogue. In its final report, the Commission noted that it was unable to fulfil this essential component of its mandate.The Commission had started the process of renaming Arch 22 as a way of honouring victims of human rights abuses and to serve as a constant reminder to all persons passing under the Arch of the gross human rights violations that occurred in the country and motivate them to commit to non-recurrence. The Commission worked extensively with the NCAC in the planning of the Project. However, the Commission initiative did not materialise. Consequently, the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) was identified to finalise the implementation of the activity.
Recommendations from the TRRC and the position of the Government:
The Commission made the following recommendations:Rename Arch 22 to Memorial Arch and (i) erect a permanent plaque on the Arch with the names of victims who lost their lives and (ii) set up exhibitions of relevant themes covered by the TRRC for continuous sensitisation and awareness creation.The Government accepts the recommendation of the Commission. The Government’s plans for the renaming of the Arch are covered elsewhere in this report. The Government recognises the importance of memorialisation as a way of acknowledging and remembering all victims of human rights violations. The Government will consult with victims and victim led organisations on the development and implementation of a comprehensive national memorialisation framework that represents all victim groups.The NCAC be given overall responsibility for the management and execution of the Project.The Government notes the recommendation of the Commission and notes that that the NCAC has statutory responsibility for memorialisation and shall continue to play a leading role in national memorialisation initiatives.The NCAC to request the Ministry of Tourism and Culture to set up a subsidiary board for the Memorial Arch project. The Board will help the NCAC in the management of the Memorial Arch by setting policies and monitoring their implementation and ensuring the appropriate use of local assets and resources and mitigating potential problems by being actively involved in the decision-making processes.The Government notes the recommendation of the Commission and notes further the NCAC already has a Board. The NCAC will therefore utilise its existing structures in leading national memorialisation initiatives and the management of the NEVER AGAIN MEMORIAL ARCH in close collaboration with victims and other relevant stakeholders.