For Isatou Ceesay and Tombong Njie, the time period “witch hunt” just isn’t a metaphor. Underneath the regime of former dictator Yahya Jammeh, each have been actually condemned as witches.
Ms Ceesay stated: “He held folks up, tortured them, and that was the tip of them. “We have been embarrassed to exit. We’re not witches,” added Mrs. Njie.
Throughout his 22 years in workplace, former President Jammeh has severely weakened the nation’s safety equipment and establishments. This mode is characterised by harassment; torture; murders of political figures, journalists, activists and college students; and severe gender and sexual violence in opposition to ladies and kids.
Miss Ceesay, Miss Njie, and plenty of different Gambians nonetheless bear the scars of the abuses of the witch hunt, which started in 2009 and lasted a number of years. Victims battle to flee the stigma related to witchcraft.
Help a troublesome transition
In 2016, the Gambians voted to elect President Jammeh and the brand new President, Adama Barrow, was sworn in in February 2017. Nevertheless, the nation of two million folks has confronted a serious disaster extreme political and social issues because of the absence of impartial or efficient establishments of justice. and widespread human rights abuses.
The political transition requires pressing reforms to overtake the nation’s establishments, promote democratic governance, handle previous human rights abuses, and set up respect for the state. rule of legislation.
One of many methods the UN has helped help this transition is thru UN Secretary-Basic’s Peace Constructing Fundprovides funds aimed toward key areas, such because the safety sector and judicial reform.
The UN’s shut cooperation with authorities, underneath President Barrow, laid the groundwork for 2 main organizations in December 2017: the Nationwide Fee on Human Rights and the Reality, Reconciliation and Compensation (TRRC), covers 11 folks, and is designed to mirror the nation’s ethnic, spiritual and gender variety.
Bringing hope to the Gambia
In January 2019, public reality and reconciliation hearings started, with victims and perpetrators giving their private testimony. The hearings and outreach actions have attracted nice curiosity from the neighborhood and broad participation of the general public, together with youth and civil society.
“TRRC is essential. I’ve seen the way it has helped folks empathize with us realizing that we now have been deliberately and wrongly accused,” stated Pa Demba Bojang, a sufferer of the searching marketing campaign. witch hunt, stated.
“Folks are actually craving to reside in peace on this nation. The lives of the victims have develop into higher with the assistance of the venture. The venture has given hope in The Gambia,” one sufferer stated. one other particular person stated.
The hearings have been broadcast reside on tv, radio and on-line platforms equivalent to YouTube and Fb. They won’t carry out for ease of viewing, together with incidents of human rights abuses, together with torture, enforced disappearance, arbitrary arrest, illegal detention/homicide, sexual and gender violence rely.
Help the victims
The United Nations Peace Constructing Fund performs an necessary function in facilitating the hearings. It permits the Fee’s workplace to remain open, gives essential tools, technical help to the Trustees and workers, and helps guarantee victims entry TRRC procedures, which contain entry with folks in probably the most distant elements of the nation.
About 2,000 folks benefited from the Sufferer Participation Fund, which already gives psychosocial help and important medical interventions. As well as, 30 folks have been supplied with complete witness safety.
Along with the hearings, greater than 34,000 Gambians participated in transitional justice outreach missions and took part in workshops, organized in shut cooperation with civil society organisations. civic, spiritual and conventional leaders.
Because it started holding hearings, the Fee’s accessible and participatory course of has helped promote nationwide reconciliation. “We have been falsely accused. Some fingers have been pointed at us, however TRRC helped us overcome this disgrace,” stated one other sufferer of the witch hunt.