The European Union representative in the Gambia has expressed concern over recent attacks on the Truth Commission from political figures and individuals in the country.
In a statement issued on Friday, EU said threatening remarks against the Commission have the potentials to hamper the healing and reconciliation process in the country.
The statement did not mention any names. However, the leadership of the Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction, party of the former President Yahya Jammeh, has recently launched attacks on the Commission at their rally in Abuko on November 23.
Below is the entire statement:
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.