By Mariama Jallow
The victims centre with support from Amnesty International yesterday launched a 47-page report documenting some of the human rights violations that occurred under former president Yahya Jammeh’s regime.
They include violations related to arbitrary arrests and detentions, enforced disappearances, extra-judicial executions, torture, inhuman and degrading treatment among others. The cases are presented based on specific incidents.
Titled ‘No longer silenced by fear’, the report details victims’ stories of mental distress and “acute pain” under Jammeh.
The report, which also identified gaps to properly address some of the serious human rights violations under Jammeh, stated that the victims centre registered 1,272 victims of Jammeh.
Addressing the participants at the launching of the report on Monday, Marta Colomer, a representative of Amnesty International, said the human rights organisation was clear from the beginning that the victims centre has a key role to play in building the ‘New Gambia’.
“They have represented the victims that had suffered the most horrendous crimes and violations under Jammeh and his allies. I personally think our decision to support them with the capacity building project has yielded results today,” Ms Colomer said.
The report, she added, is a culmination of hard work, determination and hope for justice.
“Hope that Gambia will not forget about its past and that one day, not a very far one we hope, there will be justice and accountability for all the victims,” she said.
The chairman of the victims centre, Sheriff Kijera, said the report seeks to amplify voices of the victims of human rights violations “who do not have the opportunity to testify before the TRRC and ensure justice prevails for the heinous crimes meted on them by the authoritarian regime of Jammeh”.
He added: “The Gambia is faced with numerous pressing challenges after 22 years of dictatorship, gross abuse and violations of human rights. A traditional justice approach recognises the need to gain an acceptable level of justice for the victims and to reinforce the possibilities of peace, democracy and reconciliation in order to prevent recurrence of future violations.”