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Sunday, November 28, 2021

Victims want marabouts investigated for enabling Jammeh

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By Omar Bah & Mariama Jallow

The Gambia Centre for Victims of Human Rights Violations has urged the government to investigate some marabouts and members of the Green Boys who enabled former president Yahya Jammeh’s tyranny.

The demands are contained in a detailed report shared with the Ministry of Justice, National Human Rights Commission, TRRC, UN Transitional Justice System, Amnesty International and other reputable organisations.  

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In the report, the victims centre demanded the government to conduct “a thorough and independent investigation to assess the role played by the Green Boys and the traditional healers and as well identify them.”

The centre further urges government to investigate widespread witch-hunt cases and the role played by non-state actors as enablers and perpetrators of the violations.

“We urge the government to pay special attention to the role played by the Green Boys and marabouts, which are adversely mentioned in this report for acts of arbitrary arrest and detention, torture, and the deaths of individuals forced to take concoctions while under their custody,” it said.

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The centre said the government should determine the total number of affected individuals per village/community targeted in the witch hunt. “Including but not limited to those who died in custody and after their release and those who are still suffering from serious health problems. We urge the State to commission an independent expert to research on the effects of the recurrent use of (Kuberjaroh) to establish the negative health effects to victims.”

The victims called on the state to commission identification of the mass graves and exhumation of bodies in order for families of victims to find closure.

“The state should identify families of victims and support them to ensure they have means of livelihood; by providing them with free quality medical treatment, establish psychological support programmes for all the trauma and stigma faced by survivors and their families and establish permanent state structures to provide long-term assistance to the victims of psychological and physical torture,” the centre said.

The centre further urged the government to develop a roadmap for the implementation of TRRC recommendations beyond 2021.

“There is a need to provide the Gambian society with information on which bodies and with which resources the recommendation of the TRRC will be implemented, with the full participation of victims and other CSOs in The Gambia,” the victims added.

The centre urged the ministry of justice to set up a committee to monitor the implementation of the TRRC recommendations, including the decisions on reparations to victims.

“We urge the State to hasten the implementation of the core human rights treaties, for instance by adopting national laws criminalising human rights violations, such as torture and enforced disappearances in The Gambia,” the centre concluded.

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