By Sarjo Camara-Singateh
A two -day consultation on truth, reconciliation and reparation commission (TRRC) is on the way at the Paradise Suites Hotel from 8-9th August 2017.
The conclave was organized by the African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies (ADHRC) in collaboration with the Gender Action Team (GAT), Women Forum for Peace and Stability from Senegal and Guinea Bissau with funding from the Urgent Action Fund-Kenya.
Addressing the gathering, the Minister for Women’s Affairs and overseer of the Vice Presidency, Mrs. Fatoumata Jallow Tambajang said the Gambia belongs to all of us and therefore its development should be a collective responsibility of all irrespective of one’s tribe or political affiliation. She noted that they must strive to put national interest above personal interest at all times for the Gambia is bigger that any one of us.
“You will all agree with me that during civil unrests, armed conflicts or wars, it is the women and children who suffer the most. Should violence had erupted during the impasse, women and children, especially girls would have suffered the most. Even, those that sought temporary shelter within the country and those that went to Senegal and Guinea Bissau were women and children,” she noted.
She indicated that The Gambia is a signatory to the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, also known as the Maputo Protocol. Consequently, she said, this consultation is in line with Article 10 (1) of the said protocol which states that ‘women have a right to peaceful existence and the right to participate in the promotion and maintenance of peace’.
She said the consultation would not have been better organized at a time when the Ministry of Justice have just finalized a draft Bill on the establishment of a proposed Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission in the Gambia.
‘Plans are ongoing by the Ministry of Justice for a nation-wide consultation on the proposed Bill to sensitize the citizenry’ she said.
Madame Sainabou Maal-Ceesay a representative of the Senegal Women’s Forum said the proposed TRRC in Gambia is like any other commission around the world but what is key is to promote peace, truth and forgive each another at the end of the day. She also highlighted that people should not stigmatize each other as we are all one.
Mrs. Tabu Njie Sarr a member of the Gender Action Team, highlighted that the role of women in this proposed Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission is key as they do not only exercise their franchise on 1st of December but also participated as election observers during the process. She also recalls the giant step the women took during the impasse to come up with a peace tent where speeches were made to call on the authorities to respect the will of Gambians and also to promote peace and stability in the country.
The opening was chaired by Executive Director of ACDHRS, Mrs Hannah Foster, who gave a brief history of the peace building efforts made by the Women’s Peace and Security Forum members in the sub region. She also highlighted the need for women to participate in this proposed TRRC as they are very key in all the processes.