EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, The Gambia: A group of women who claimed they were victimised during the regime of Gambia’s former President Yahya Jammeh, Tuesday presented a report containing their experiences during the 22-year dictatorial rule to the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC).
Supported by the International Centre for Transitional Justice (ICTJ), the report seeks to address social, legal, economic, and cultural dimensions of sexual and gender-based violence suffered by women. It also calls for holistic transformation of the society in favor of improving women’s inclusion, participation and protection.
Over hundred women from Sintet, Basse, and Janjangbureh shared their ordeals with the International Center for Transitional Justice, who conducted series of consultation meetings in several villages in the regions, where women spoke out against the violence meted on them.
Musu Bakoto Sawo, Deputy Executive Secretary of the TRRC, commended the women for their bravery of coming out to share their experiences, saying the women were able to come together to put forward their concerns so that the transitional justice would ensure women’s practical inclusion in decision making.
She said the truth-seeking commission’s women affairs and victims units are open and accommodative, cognizant of the importance of the victims’ stories.
Head of ICTJ programs, Didier Gbery said the report is intended for the TRRC to use as a source of information to analyse the specific experiences of women during the dictatorship, noting they are working with the TRRC to ensure that the voice of women is heard.
The women who said to have endured many unpleasant experiences under the former regime, with some living in fear of being tortured, arrested, or detained for either going against the directives of the former president or not supporting him have urged government to support and empower women to understand their rights and protect them against gender based violence.
The women also recommend to the TRRC to expand its public outreach programs so as to inform people in remote villages in the country to understand the activities, while urging the commission to avoid using images or videos of women victims in social media.
Adelaide Sosseh, deputy chairperson of TRRC, reassured the victims and witnesses at the TRRC of their highest support and protection, saying TRRC is aware of the sensitive nature of society.
Story written by Amadou Kanteh