Panafrican News Agency

EU official 'upset' over attacks on Gambia truth commission witnesses

Banjul, Gambia (PANA) - The European Union Delegation to The Gambia says it is upset by the increase in "deeply offensive and threatening remarks" made publicly on several occasions by prominent political figures specifically towards female Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) witnesses, and witnesses broadly.  

In a statement made available to PANA in Banjul on Saturday, the EU said last year's launch of the TRRC was a key moment in Gambia's journey towards democracy based on the rule of law and human rights. 

The EU said such threatening remarks are not only abhorrent, but also hamper the country's efforts to reverse the abusive legacy of the past and eliminate climate of fear.

They could also potentially obstruct a successful completion of the national process of healing and reconciliation. 

PANA reports that at political rally organised by ex-president Yahya Jammeh's, the Alliance for Patriotic Re-orientation and Construction (APRC), the first deputy leader Ousman Ramo Jatta attacked Fatou "Toufah" Jallow, a former beauty queen, who claimed that the former Gambian leader raped her.

He described her statement as a false, saying Jallow’s is "too cheap" for the ex-president.

“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,” said Attila Lajos, European Union Ambassador in The Gambia.

He called on the Gambian authorities to condemn these threats and take action, as appropriate, to ensure the protection of all TRRC witnesses. They should also investigate whether laws and human rights have been violated.

-0- PANA MSS/MA 7Dec2019