The Gambia Centre for Victims of Human Rights Violations has urged the administration of President Adama Barrow to “expedite investigation” into cases of murder, torture and disappearances that happened under country’s former old-school autocrat Yahya Jammeh.
Jammeh, who ruled Gambia from 1994 to 2016, was accused of human rights violations including killings and disappearances.
However, the Victim Centre expressed frustration in a press release issued on Friday that they are concern Barrow’s administration has shown indifference in the plight of the victims.
About a month ago, the United Nations Human Rights Committee has also expressed concerns that evidence that may potentially implicate former ruler is being destroyed at the headquarters of the State Intelligence Services.
The SIS (NIA) has razed down its clinic and is plastering several walls at its headquarters in Banjul, an activity which was noted in the UN report last month.
Gambia is currently establishing a Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission to deal with past crimes but work is yet to begin to that effect.
Below is the press release from Victim Centre:
Yesterday, 30 August, was the International Day for the Disappeared, a day created to draw attention to the fate of individuals imprisoned under poor conditions and at places unknown to their relatives and/or legal representatives. The government of Adama Barrow has been silent on a day that should be of great significance in The Gambia. During his 22-year rule, Yahya Jammeh’s regime was marked by widespread abuses, including forced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, sexual violence, arbitrary arrests as well as incommunicado detention.
For victims that were forcibly disappeared and other victims of human rights violations and abuses in The Gambia, this day also gave us a chance to pause, remember and bring attention to the fate of those whose whereabouts remain unknown. Families and friends continue to suffer in silence! It is their wish that they will receive news about their loved ones and/or to receive the remains of those killed to afford them a dignified burial.
On the International Day for the Disappeared, families and friends of the victims and the Victims’ Center call on the Government to take necessary measures without any further delay to expedite investigations to locate the burial sites of their loved ones. The Government should also undertake genuine and effective investigations of past human rights violations and ensure that perpetrators are held accountable. Furthermore, the Government should also take steps to commemorate the day and engage with families and friends of the disappeared and other victims of human rights violations and abuses.