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‘TRRC witnesses on sexual violence are being harassed’

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The chair of the Truth Commission investigating the human rights violations of the former president Yahya Jammeh said people who have testified before the Commission on gender-based violence are being harassed and revictimized.

The Commission has began investigations in sexual and gender based violence last week and 5 witnesses have already testified. On Tuesday, a Gambian lawmaker Fatoumatta Jawara also appeared before the Commission.

She was arrested on April 14 with a number of United Democratic Party supporters and allegedly tortured. Dr Lamin Sise said it is unacceptable that Commission’s witnesses will be harassed after their testimonies.

“The Commission is deeply concerned about the harassment and intimidation of some victims of sexual violence who testified about the violations and abuses of their human rights at the TRRC,” said Sise.

“It is most unfortunate and unacceptable that some survivors of sexual violence who have endured such horrific experiences are being revictimized by some members of the public as a result of their willingness to appear at the TRRC and give the public account of what happened to them.

“No one chooses to be a victim of sexual violence… The testimony of such victims should not be seen as an opportunity to score political or any other points. Their stories should not be dismissed.”

Dr Sise said the TRRC will not allow such harassment to continue. He said they may resort to in-camera hearing for victims of sexual violence.

Sise urged people to be remorseful to the victims and not harass them.

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