Sunday, May 28

Stakeholders Hold donor Conference on implementation of Truth Commission recommendations –

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By Mama A. Touray& MSS

The Gambia is holding a stakeholder’s conference and donor roundtable on the implementation of the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) recommendations, presided over by President Adama Barrow on Friday.

In his opening remarks, the Gambia leader said this event had come at a crucial moment in the nation’s history and a critical stage in the journey to transform the dark legacy of the past.

He added that it was a period of laying solid institutional foundations for a brighter and more just future for all Gambians.

According to him, The Gambia has faced numerous challenges over the years and has emerged from decades of dictatorship marked by deadly human rights violations, oppression, and suppression of dissenting voices.

President Barrow stated that the resilience of Gambians and their strong determination to establish a just and democratic society had already produced positive results.

“We are now united and resolved to manage our past experiences and forge pathways to a new era of peace, justice, and reconciliation.”

“The establishment of the Truth, Reconciliation, and Reparations Commission (TRRC) in 2018 was a significant milestone in our quest for justice and accountability.

“Through its comprehensive and transparent process, the Commission exposed grave human rights abuses, and provided a platform for victims to share their stories and experiences,” he said.

He added: “We listened, we learned, and are proud of the courage and resilience of our fellow citizens who came forward to tell the truth.

“We have since made significant strides towards justice and reconciliation. The TRRC’s final report and its valuable recommendations have set the stage for a transformative era in The Gambia. We have arrived at a critical juncture that requires the implementation of those recommendations.”

The Gambian leader pointed out that his government was fully committed to ensuring a comprehensive and effective implementation process, and he recognizes the importance of working in partnership with all stakeholders within the country and the international community.

President Barrow highlighted that the task at hand was huge, but “we can contain it, however, we must seize every opportunity to address the various aspects of the transitional justice process”.

He stressed that indeed, transformative change called for a holistic and inclusive approach.

“Our focus must be on addressing the root causes of the human rights abuses committed in the country and ensuring that such crimes never happen again. The process includes strengthening our democratic institutions, promoting transparency and accountability, and creating an environment wherein human rights are respected and protected,” the Gambian president emphasized.

He stated that the government understands the importance of holding accountable all those responsible for human rights violations, as well as providing reparations and support to the victims, and “we will strive tirelessly to make sure that justice is served and that the rights and dignity of the victims are upheld”.

He also said it was relevant to recall that 2023 marks the seventy-fifth (75th) anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights, adding that this milepost was a powerful reminder of the significance of upholding and protecting the rights and freedoms of all people, regardless of their background, race, or creed.

“The Gambia’s transitional justice process is a testament to our respect for these universal principles and our unwavering dedication to ensuring that the rights enshrined in the Declaration are upheld in the country.

“As we observe this historic anniversary, let us reaffirm our commitment to safeguarding human rights and promoting justice for all. The lessons learned from the past and the guidance provided by the international community suffice as cornerstones to build a more inclusive, equitable, and just society for our citizens,” he said.

He added: “We stand in solidarity with the global community in pursuit of a world where every individual’s rights are respected, protected, and fulfilled.”

President Barrow said his government was dedicated to fostering peace and reconciliation in the country, and recognized the need for healing and unity, adding that Gambians have shown tremendous strength and remarkable capacity for forgiveness and it was time they harnessed this strength to promote understanding, tolerance, and compassion.

“To all victims of the past human rights abuses in The Gambia, my sincere message is: We heard you, we acknowledge your pain and suffering, and we stand firm to ascertain that justice is served.”

“The Government will work tirelessly to ensure that your voices are heard, your rights are protected, and that you receive the support you need to heal and rebuild your lives. Your courage is inspiring, and we pledge to stand by you in your quest for justice and healing,” he said.