Panafrican News Agency

Gambia's Human Rights Commission chairperson commends media for exposing sexual and gender-based violence

Banjul, Gambia (PANA) - Emmanuel D. Joof, chairperson of The Gambia National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), has commended the media, including social media, for the great efforts in exposing abuses and violations of sexual and gender-based violence in the country.

“We urged them to always bear in mind the best interest of the victims and strict observance of its ethical standards in the reporting of sexual and gender-based violence and children’s issues. The privacy, honour and dignity of the victims and survivors should always be given primary consideration,” he said in a statement made available to PANA in Banjul Tuesday.

He added: “We called on the Ministries of Health and Gender, Children and Social Welfare to intensify their efforts in the building of a more protective environment for victims of sexual violence. Essential services, including health, psychosocial and rehabilitation and reintegration programmes must be in place to support victims and survivors.” 

Chairperson Joof said that as a society, there is the need for us to begin serious conversations at all levels on the factors which engender sexual and gender-based violence and our individual roles in its perpetuation.

“We must interrogate those aspects of our culture, including patriarchy, which subordinate women, perpetuate masculinity and blame and cast aspersion on victims for their abuse and violations and encourage everyone especially our girls, women and children to report all forms of sexual and gender-based violence that they are subjected to or know about to the appropriate authorities,” he pointed out.

He further noted that the NHRC understands that there are factors that inhibit victims and witnesses from reporting cases to the Police or other statutory bodies.

He stressed: to safeguard confidence in our protection system, statutory bodies with obligations to protect must ensure that cases are expeditiously investigated and perpetrators prosecuted for their crimes and those victims and whistle-blowers are protected from victimization.

“The NHRC will continue to engage all the critical stakeholders and duty bearers to map out strategies for the effective protection of victims and survivors and to put an end to the impunity which has dampened confidence in our protection system. We must do more for the vulnerable members of our society and the protection of girls, women and children is paramount,” he said.

-0- PANA MSS/VAO 13April2021