The Gambia’s Center for Victims of Human Rights Violations has written a letter to the Speaker of the National Assembly to hold an extraordinary session to discuss the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) Report and the Government White Paper.
The letter dated 2nd November 2022 was also copied to the Clark of the National Assembly, the Attorney General and the Minister of Justice, the Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission Commission (NHRC) and the Chairperson of The Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (TANGO). Here is the letter from the Victims Center.
Gambia National Assembly,
2nd November 2022,
Subject: Call for an extraordinary session by Parliamentarians to discuss on the TRRC Report and the Government Whitepaper
On the 24th of November 2021, the final report of the TRRC was submitted to the President of there public of the Gambia. Six months after the report was submitted, the Government Whitepaper was released. The Gambia Center for Victims of Human Rights Violations(VC), thus wishes to bring to your attention this development.
Following the release of the Whitepaper, the Victims Center and some of its partners acknowledged the efforts of the Government for the timely release of the Whitepaper. The Victim Center also took note of the fact that out of 265 recommendations made by the TRRC the Government rejected only two. Therefore, accepting the rest of the recommendations for implementation.
The main objectives of the TRRC, pursuant to section 13 of the act, are to create an impartial historical record of violations and abuses of human rights from July 1994 to January 2017, in order to promote healing and reconciliation, address impunity and prevent a repetition of the violations by holding perpetrators to account, and grant reparations to victims. Therefore, it is in light of this background that the Victims Center stresses the need for an urgent roadmap outlining the steps involved in the implementation process of the whitepaper.
Pursuant to section 30 of the TRRC act of Government obligation; subsection 1, clearly states that within thirty days of receiving the report, the President shall submit a copy of the TRRC report to the National Assembly, and subsequently subsection 3 under section 30, states that the Government shall, within six months following the submission of the report, issue a whitepaper containing its proposed plan on the implementations in the Gazette. On December 24th, 2021, the Minister of Justice publicised the TRRC report and presented a copy to the National Assembly through the office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Therefore, it is incumbent and duty bound on National assembly members to reconvene on the debate of the important work and findings of the TRRC for holding the Government of the Gambia to task, on the effective and diligent implementation of TRRC recommendations.
It is in this regard, that the victims Center is urgently requesting the National Assembly Members to call for an extraordinary session with a view to reviewing the TRRC report and the Government Whitepaper. Also, to propose a timeline for the Government to come up with a realistic roadmap. The roadmap should indicate the process of implementation, as well as to set up committees that would collaborate with the National Human Rights Commission in monitoring the implementation at any stage of the process.
As lawmakers, we are optimistic that our request for the National Assembly to call for an extraordinary session on the TRRC report and Government Whitepaper will be treated with the urgency and diligence it requires.
Whilst counting on your usual support and cooperation, I remain
Sheriff Muhammed Kijera
Chairman, Board of Directors, Victims Center.
Cc: Speaker of the National Assembly
Clark of the House.
Attorney General and Minister of Justice