By Tabora Bojang
Deputy chairperson nominee for the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission Adelaide Sosseh, has been speaking on the need for the commission to be made friendly for survivors particularly children and women to publicly recount painful memories of abuses they suffered in a country where the culture of silence has prevailed and survivors of gender-based violence prefer to suffer in silence to narrate their ordeal.
Ms Sosseh who was speaking at the opening of a five-day training for the newly appointed members of the TRRC, admitted that reliving past horrors is not an easy task as truth-telling is connected to psychological restoration, emphasising that healing can only occur through providing room for survivors of violence to tell their stories and traumatic events in a safe accepting environment.
According to the retired educationist and gender Consultant, creation of ‘these safe and friendly spaces’ should not be a challenge as it is anticipated in the TRRC Act (2017).
“Creating theses spaces in which these narratives are not only heard, but are also understood plays an important role in the process of transforming private suffering into public knowledge and bringing to light horrific experiences of victims,” she said.
While the main goals of the TRRC include discovering truth, promoting healing, reconciliation, and reparations, the Commission is also tasked the duty of unfolding the truth and placing the country on the path of healing and reconciliation.
“No matter how painful it will be to hear the narratives and no matter how painful for the narrators the search must be done. The Commissioners will address each case on its own merit and will do so sensitively, impartially, and objectively and come up with appropriate recommendations,” the former EFANET Gambia chairperson said.
“There has been a lot of noise and explanations demanded for why it was taking so long to set up the TRRC. Queries have been raised on the appointments of some staff, Commissioners and doubts expressed by others on the outcomes of Commission.
“These are all in the normal order of things for it would have been unrealistic to believe that these criticisms would not have happened. In fact these discussions about the perceived loopholes, limitations and challenges are essential to strengthening the work of the TRRC as it helps it to identify risks and assumptions and address these accordingly.”