By Yusef Taylor, @FlexDan_YT
In a meeting with Diaspora Gambians in London, Foreign Minister, Hon. Ousainou Darboe called the promise for a Turkish Medical Package to support April 2000 Victims “imaginations that people think”.
The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) which describes itself as “an independent, non-partisan, international nongovernmental organisation, mandated to ensure the practical realisation of human rights in the countries of the Commonwealth” has published a report highlighting the urgent need for medical support for some victims.
According to the Commonwealth report “Turkey, has signed a Power Protection Agreement with The Gambia, offered training to the security forces, and offered to treat nine victims that the Victims Centre has identified as in great need, providing their air fare can be found.”
At a recently concluded Gambian Presidential and Diaspora Meeting held in Mayfair London on April 20th, a question was posed to the President on a promise he made to April 10 Victims. Gainako’s Flex Dan asked the Gambian President “I interviewed one of the April 2000 Victims last Tuesday who reported that you promised them a Turkish Medical package in Senegal. To date, that has not been forthcoming and the first lady has allegedly been awarded a Turkish Medical Package. Mr President, can you please clarify and being a victim yourself can you promise to contact the Victims Centre to resolve this when you return?”
In response, the Foreign Minister responded to say that “I am privy to whatever happens between him and every foreign government, but again I just want to say that these again are imaginations that people think. When we visited Turkey with the President some months ago the first lady had some discussions with the first lady of Turkey so that some medical facilities can be established in the Gambia for the benefit of the children of the Gambia”.
It could be that the Foreign Minister may not be aware of the specific contents of the CHRI 2018 Report. However, since this question has been raised to ensure that the victims receive the urgent medical treatment they desperately need and since the question has already been raised it was necessary to highlight the facts around the Turkish Medical Packages. It’s worth noting that a unanimous concerned citizen has intimated to assist with one travel ticket. As a medium Gainako would like to state that we call on concerned citizens to respond to all of the April 2000 Victims and come to their aid. All that stands in the way at the moment is for the victims to pay the air fare.
You can listen to the question and answer here from the 6-minute mark.
In the Minister’s defence, in the same speech to the London crowd, he said that “I and my cabinet colleagues, led by the President we’re being forced by the NGO’s that doing the right things and doing the things right are frankly difficult things we as human beings, we make mistakes. We miss opportunities and sometimes we even offend our citizens. When we make humanly mistakes we will also be the first one to say loud and clear to Gambians that we beg your pardon.” Could it be that he has just made a human mistake?
The CHRI 2018 Report states that “Although it [Victims Center] is a non-state actor it is important that it is embraced by the government and TRCC process and that it has sufficient resources to support victims.” Since the statements by the Foreign Minister, the Victims Centre has posted two Press Releases reproduced below as proof of their meetings with The Gambian President and the Turkish Ambassador.
PORG Barrow’s Promise to April 10/11 Victims in 2017
Look back to the impasse… On the 20th January 2017, just after the inauguration of President Adama Barrow at the Gambian Embassy in Dakar, one of the first actions of the new President was to meet with April 10/11th victims. Here he is meeting with Yusupha Mbye. He made a promise to “do something” for the victims “once I return to Gambia”. Unfortunately over a year has gone by and no medical support has been arranged to date (22/04/2018). Link to press release here.
Turkish Ambassador’s 2017 Pledge to Help The April 10/11 Victims
During the launching of The Gambia Center For Victims of Human Right Violations the Turkish Ambassador to the Gambia, Mr Ismail Sefa Yuceer, reiterated his pledge he made, through the offices of the Minister for Youth Mr Henry Gomez, to provide medical treatment for the April 10/11 victims.
You can watch the video here from the 43-minute mark.
Link to Press Release here.