Members of the Gambia Center For Victims Of Human Rights Violations said they are grateful to ordinary Gambian men and women at home and abroad for their individual and collective acts of generosity and altruism towards the welfare of the victims who suffered abuses during former president Yahya Jammeh’s 22-year rule.
This followed the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubacarr Tambedou’s announcement at a press conference on Monday that Gambia government had made first contribution of 50 million dalasis to the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission -TRRC- reparations trust fund.
“You will recall that pursuant to Section 13 and Section 20 of the TRRC Act, one of the key mandates, and a peculiar feature, of The Gambia’s truth commission process is the granting of reparations to victims by the TRRC itself,” the center members said in a statement.
They said in order to underscore the importance that the Government attaches to this objective, the word “Reparations” was included in the title of our truth commission, making it the first of its kind anywhere in the world. “Today, almost one year into the TRRC public hearings, the Government is fulfilling its promise to grant reparations for the victims of human rights violations and abuses within the mandate of the TRRC.”
They singled out names, including Yunus Hydara in the United Kingdom for spearheading donation efforts for Mafugie Sonko and Yusupha Bojang; TRRC Lead Counsel Essa Faal for giving Mafugie a plot of land; Fatima Ella Bah of MOKI Aid, based in Manchester in the United Kingdom, for providing free technical and vocational education for the children of victims and making monthly donations to the TRRC Victims Trust Fund; Modou Jaiteh also based in Manchester for making monthly donations to the Victims Trust Fund;
Papa Yusupha Njie of Unique Solutions for purchasing the air tickets to Turkey for two victims for medical treatment, providing housing for some victims’ families, and making donations of cash, radio sets, and mobile phones; Nathanya Deakin of the UK based charity called Anya’s Wish, for providing full scholarships for some victims to continue their education and host of others.
“Therefore, on behalf of His Excellency, Adama Barrow, President of the Republic of The Gambia, and on behalf of his entire Government, it is with great pleasure that I announce to you, the decision of the Government of The Gambia to contribute to the TRRC Victims Trust Fund an initial amount of Fifty (50) Million Dalasis with immediate effect.”
According to them, the Fifty Million Dalasis is being paid out from the proceeds of sale of former President Jammeh’s assets which are currently being sold in accordance with the recommendations of the Janneh Commission. “It has become increasingly apparent to the Government, based on revelations at the TRRC over the past one year, that former President Jammeh was a central pillar in the infrastructure of terror and human rights abuses that were unleashed on ordinary Gambians and others under his leadership. Consequently, the Government deems it most fitting, and just, that reparations for his victims should be granted directly from his wealth and assets, hence the payment of this Fifty Million Dalasis from the proceeds of sale of his assets.”
The center encourages and call on everyone, especially private business enterprises in the country, to make generous donations to the TRRC Victims Trust Fund so that we can, together, make reparations meaningful for the victims who deserve no less than our individual and collective support to rebuild their lives. Let us, once again, demonstrate to the world, our true Gambian characters of benevolence, compassion, selflessness and humanity.
They also thanked all the victims for their continued understanding and forbearance; and the Victims Center, particularly its Chairman Mr Sheriff Kijera, for his continuous constructive engagement with Government through my Ministry, and for not only constantly reminding me about the urgent plight of the victims, but for also advocating for the general welfare and interests of all victims at every opportunity. The payment of this Fifty Million Dalasis announced here today is significantly due to his tireless and relentless efforts and attitude. All the victims should be proud of him.