The Victim Center reacts to a press statement from the Truth Commission on Tuesday that victims of gender based violence who have testified are being harassed and revictimized. The Commission is currently investigating gender base violence which occurred under the leadership of the former dictator Yahya Jammeh.
Press release from Victim Center
The Gambia Center for Victims of Human Rights Violation is deeply saddened by the harassment, intimidation and shaming of some victims of sexual and gender base violence who testified before the Truth Reconciliation and Reparation Commission (TRRC) by some members of the general public.
A big part of the transitional justice process is about ensuring that victims stories are heard, which is essential to fostering reconciliation and preventing reoccurrence. However, that aim cannot be achieved if victims of sexual and gender base violence are blamed and shamed for the violations they suffered.
Just like all the other victims of human rights violations, these survivors of sexual violence did not choose to be violated. The victims should not be blamed what so ever for the violations they incurred, instead they should be applauded for being brave enough to appear before the TRRC and publicly tell their stories.
The Gambia Center for Victims of Human Rights Violation condemns any form of harassment, intimidation or shaming of any survivor of sexual and gender base violence or any other human rights violations to its strongest term. Thus, we urge and encourage all members of the general public to provide the enabling environment for the victims of sexual violence to publicly tell their stories without any fear of harassment or intimidation of any kind. If not, we would be doing a big disservice to the victims, ourselves and our country.
The Gambia Center for Victims of Human Rights Violations will continue to work with relevant partners to facilitate justice to victims, through national, regional and international mechanisms to ensure that peace continues to prevail in the country. Not only must justice be done it must also be seen to be done.