The European Union Delegation to the Gambia has frowned at politicians who launched attacks on female TRRC witnesses. The EU delegation also observed that the said politicians had also issued threatening remarks against some female witnesses, adding that such moves will affect the healing and reconciliation process that the country is currently undergoing. This information was contained in a press release issued on 6th December 2019.
The statement reads:
Statement by the European Union Delegation to The Gambia addressing the deeply offensive and threatening remarks made publicly by prominent political figures specifically towards female TRRC witnesses, but also TRRC witnesses more broadly.
The European Union Delegation to The Gambia recognises that last year’s launch of the Gambia Truth, Reconciliation, and Reparations Commission (TRRC) was a key moment in The Gambia’s journey towards democracy based on the rule of law and human rights.
However, we observe with great dismay the recent increase in deeply offensive and threatening remarks made publicly on several occasions by prominent political figures specifically towards female TRRC witnesses, but also TRRC witnesses more broadly.
Such threatening remarks are not only abhorrent, but also hamper the country`s efforts to reverse the abusive legacy of the past, to eliminate climate of fear that was prevailing.
They could also potentially obstruct a successful completion of the national process of healing and reconciliation. There should be no place for Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV), in all its forms, including the use of threatening language in a democratic society.
Victims of SGBV who have shown immense courage in coming forward should be celebrated and supported, not stigmatised and threatened.
The European Union Ambassador in The Gambia thus calls on the Gambian national authorities to condemn these threats; to take action, as appropriate, to ensure the protection of all TRRC witnesses; and to investigate whether laws and human rights have been violated, in particular including article 36 of the TRRC Act.
The European Union Delegation to The Gambia continues to support The Gambia in its efforts to enhance democracy, national reconciliation and the protection of human rights, including the elimination of violence against women in the country.