By Tabora Bojang
The United Nations Children Fund in partnership with the National Youth Council and Justice Ministry with other stakeholders conducted a two-day sensitization workshop programme in Janjangbureh and Wassu in Central River Region where over 200 children from schools, madrassas and youth groups are sensitized on transitional justice.
The young people were exposed to the rationale, aim and objectives of the TRRC as well the important role that they can play in the transitional justice programme.
“UNICEF sees the transitional justice project as a unique opportunity to assess how the children were affected and what are their needs and expectations for a brighter future,” Margaux Bia, legal officer UNICEF.
Adding that the voices of children and youth who are directly or indirectly affected by the oppression should be listened to and their experiences and needs be adequately reflected in the measures to be adopted.
The programme is part of a nationwide Transitional Justice awareness programme funded by UNICEF which is meant to help raise awareness and understanding of children and youth on transitional Justice, the TRRC and their fundamental rights and roles in ensuring that their voices are heard in the programme.
The Gambia Government is working on the establishment of a TRRC to investigate human rights abuses and atrocities of 22 years dictatorial rule of Yahya Jammeh. UNICEF is planning to help the government put in place the building blocks for establishing a child sensitive transitional justice process ensuring that children are not and overlooked in the process.
The viability of the transitional justice process according to officials will largely depend on the engagement of the youthful population as they make up 61% of the population.
The tour will cut across the 7 regions of the Gambia with a working youth group consisting four (4) representatives from each of the seven regions of the country will help in raising awareness, strengthen capacity building programmes and organise follow-up activities in their own areas.
Fatou Jah of UNICEF emphasized the need to ensure that the youth and young population are well informed about what is happening around them and give the ability to understand their rights and take control of their responsibilities.
“Any policy or strategy designed to push the country towards its rehabilitation the young people need to be involved and their voices need to be amplified because decisions that are made impact them,” she noted
The tour continues to Basse in the Upper River Region.