By Yusef Taylor and Ousman Saidykhan
The Gambia’s Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) has presented five organisations with awards “to show appreciation for their support and commitment during the TRRC Process”. The award ceremony took place on 13th July 2021 at the TRRC’s Headquarters based in Dune’s Hotel, Kololi.
The TRRC was enacted by the Gambia’s National Assembly in 2017 to investigate the human rights violations of former President Yahya Jammeh’s regime. The invitation sent by the TRRC’s media team highlighted that four organisations were to be awarded namely; United Nations Transitional Justice (UNTJ), International Center for Transitional Justice (ITCJ), Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA) and the Catholic Relief Services (CRS). However, upon arrival five awards were presented on a table with the additional award going to International IDEA.
TRRC Deputy Chair, Adelaide Sosseh and the Director of Admin and Human Resources Ms Haddy Jallow both delivered speeches to thank the organisations present. Explaining how important the supporting organisations were Ms Haddy Jallow opined that “without these five donors, it would have been very difficult for us to actually complete our mandate.”
Elucidating some of the Commission’s experiences, Deputy Chair Sosseh said “you felt our pain and you accompanied us when we were down, when we needed resources, when we needed technical advice, when we just needed a word of comfort, the individual staff members were always there to guide, to support and to just be there for us and for that we are extremely grateful.”
Speaking of the work that the TRRC completed “over the past two and a half years“ Ms Sosseh expressed the Commission’s determination for their work “to lead to sustainable development and peace and healing of our beloved nation”.
UN Resident Coordinator, Ms Seraphine Wakana received an award on behalf of UNDP, OHCR and the Peace Building Fund and expressed the UN’s commitment to assist the Gambia Government to implement the TRRC’s Recommendations. In a bold statement, Ms Wakana said “I want to commit myself and the entire UN in the Gambia that we are supporting the TRRC. We are waiting for the reports. We are really eager to see the implementation of the recommendations from the report you are going to submit.”
Dedicating support to implement the recommendations she further committed that “the Peace Building Fund will always be ready to accompany the recommendations because it should be this way otherwise it will be an unfinished business because the work you did is a great job but we will be happy the see the implementation first and we are here to support everybody.”
Receiving the award on behalf of ICTJ, Hussai Jallow started by congratulating the Truth Commission “for the great work that has been done over the past two years” and reassured the Commission “that we will continue to work with them any time they need us”.