By Yusef Taylor, @FlexDan_YT
The Chairperson of the Gambia Center for Victims of Human Rights Violations (Victim Center) told Gainako that his team concluded an outreach in Upper River Region (URR), in Basse “to sensitise the victims and the general public on the reparations policy and the reparations of Truth Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC)”.
In an exclusive interview with, Mr Sheriff Muhammed Kijera, Victim Centre’s Chairperson, he told Gainako that the outreach conducted in partnership with the TRRC “started on Friday the 9th of April and concluded on Tuesday the 13th of April 2021”.
Speaking about the Victim Centre’s partnership with the TRRC, Mr Kijera explained that “we are out there with the Truth Reconciliation Reparations Commission, they have a representative that is part of the outreach team. So basically, we have a strong collaboration with the TRRC we collaborate on issues like outreach activities and providing medical treatment to victims and other areas that we collaborate because we have an MOU with them”.
The TRRC is a commission mandated to investigate the human rights abuses of the victims of former Gambian Dictator, President Yahya Jammeh who ruled the country with an iron fist after he seized power via a Coup d’etat in July 1994. Although Yahya Jammeh boasted of ruling the Gambia for a “billion years”, his 22-year rule came to an abrupt end in January 2017 when he fled to Equatorial Guinea after losing elections to current President Adama Barrow in December 2016.
When quizzed on the locations visited during the outreach Mr Kijera explained that that “they had conducted outreach activities in Basse and its surrounding villages including Fatoto and Koina”. From the Social Media Posting of the Victim Center Official Page, it can be seen that the outreach visited Numuyel on the 9th of April 2021, Basse Manneh Kunda on the 10th and Wuli Sutukonding on the 11th of April 2021.
According to Mr Kijera “so many people are with the hope, the opinion, the notion that reparations is all about finance and compensation but there is more to financial compensation. There are other issues to address like psychosocial support, medical care, restitution and restoring the dignity of the victims as well. Also, apology they are all part of the reparations.”
One of the misconceptions that the trip aims to clarify is that “the TRRC reparations is going to be based on need-based assessment and not everybody is going to have the same amount as well as far as financial compensation is concerned. Some other victims will have reparations in term of medical support and others will have restitution. So, these are the type of reparations that we have as part of the mandate of the TRRC and its regulations that is going to be Gazetted [via] the National Assembly to make it law and binding on the Central Government to make sure they live up to its obligation to fully compensate the victims of Yahya Jammeh atrocities.”
Mr Kijera highlighted that their outreach was “supported by the Africa Transitional Justice Legacy Fund. They had a series of projects that they are financing in the Gambia. The Victim Center is part of the beneficiaries of that grant.”