Wednesday, November 30

Victims Center to Document Deaths of 66+ Children under Human Rights Violations – Sheriff Kijera

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By Kebba Ansu Manneh

Sheriff Kijera, Chairman of Gambia Center for Human Rights Violations has revealed that the programme and documentation department of the center will document the cases of the families of the 66+ children who died of Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) under the victims of Human Rights violations. He said just like how the Center has documented the human rights violations of the former regime of Yahya Jammeh it will also document the death of these children as victims of President Adama Barrow’s atrocities.

Sheriff Kijera made this revelation on Sunday 9th October 2022, while taking his turn to address a press conference organised by the Justice for 66+ Campaign, a civil society movement that is keeping the government accountable for the death of 66+ children who died of AKI after consuming substandard pharmaceutical syrups importers from Madien Pharmaceutical Company Limited India.

“The issue of the kids is very pathetic and sorrowful, on this note, the Programme and Documentation Department will document all the cases of the victims’ families under human rights violations.

“We will document these cases just as we documented the victims of Yahya Jammeh’s human rights violations, they were victims of Yahya Jammeh’s atrocities and these children are victims of President Adama Barrow’s atrocities,” Chairman Victims Centre revealed. He added: “We will also work with the civil societies because no one organisation can be able to accomplish all the tasks at hand, this is why all the civil societies must work together to be empowered.

It should not only be a matter of reacting always when an incident of rights violations occurs, it is about time to start instituting legal actions against and state also to take legal action against the Indian Pharmaceutical Company that brought those syrups into the country to the International Court of Justice so that a replicate of this incident will never happen in the country.”

According to him, if Civil Societies Organisation continues to react to government atrocities without resorting to legal actions these types of incidents will continue to unfold in the country till doomsday and nothing will happen. He argued that reacting through holding banners, and placards, standing on the streets, and inviting journalists to cover such reactions will no longer work and the way out now is for Civil Societies Organisations to resort to legal actions against government atrocities and other human rights violations.

“It will only take two weeks you will never see or heard about this issue of the children, that’s the attitude of The Gambia and if we say New Gambia we must change this attitude,” Victims Centre Chairman expressed.

He added: “If we say a New Gambia, we must change our attitude and demand for the rebirth of the New Gambia, we must ask to change our mindsets and direct it towards national development, towards national orientation for patriotism and ensuring that resources and wealth of the country be managed judiciously.

“We have a failed leadership, this country lacks leadership, this country is in a serious leadership crisis and it lacks direction and what is required now is for every citizen to take ownership of how the country is been governed,” he disclosed.

The Victims Center Chairman reasoned that citizens should not be afraid of keeping the President, Ministers, and Managing Directors of departments and institutions to account as they are their servants and must be accountable to the public, the death of 66+children is not only the concern of the civil societies but rather the concern of every Gambian who should all stand together to condemn such act meted out to innocent Gambian children.

“We should do away with that Jammeh time attitude where we used to say ‘is not my business, ‘am not affected’, today it may affect someone but tomorrow it may enter your house, so the best way is for all Gambians to stand together and do away with mismanagement from the system, the rights violations and corruption ongoing in the country should end now,” Chairman Kijera further demanded at the presser.

He added: “For the President to hire a flight for D35 million just to attend the United Nations General Assembly is nonsense, in fact, all that delegation he went with what did they say there? What have they brought into the country? If you look at the President’s address at the UN General Assembly, the number of people in attendance is not more than a few hundred, all those responsible delegates left and went on their businesses, he addressed empty seats.”

Kijera observed that western world leaders failed to respect the African leaders who made addresses at the General Assembly because the African leaders failed to honor and respect their citizens, emphasising that the death of the 66+ Children in the country constitute gross human rights violations and called on all affected families to report their cases to the victims Center.

“It has been a great disappointment for every Gambian who fought so hard for 22 years before they succeeded in ending the tyrannical regime of Yahya  Jammeh with the hope and belief that with the coming of President Adama Barrow, Gambians will be free from the shackles of bad governance, hardship, and difficult living conditions but unfortunately, the system hasn’t changed, it is the same system ongoing.

Those who perpetrated bad governance in this country are the ones President Adama Barrow has now embraced and rewarded with all the big positions in the country,” Victims Centre Chairman disclosed.

He added: “From the National Assembly to the Government Institutions to the Foreign Embassies, these perpetrators are the ones manning the big positions there and with this situation, the change we were yearning for will be very difficult to achieve.

“Until the time when we are ready to tell each other the truth, disregard our social family and friendship affiliations and connections and work towards nation building it will be difficult to achieve our goals as a country,” he noted.