Yesterday, 30 August, was the International Day for the Disappeared, a day created to draw attention to the fate of individuals imprisoned under poor conditions and at places unknown to their relatives and/or legal representatives. The government of Adama Barrow has been silent on a day that should be of great significance in The Gambia. During his 22-year rule, Yahya Jammeh’s regime was marked by widespread abuses, including forced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, sexual violence, arbitrary arrests as well as incommunicado detention.
For victims that were forcibly disappeared and other victims of human rights violations and abuses in The Gambia, this day also gave us a chance to pause, remember and bring attention to the fate of those whose whereabouts remain unknown. Families and friends continue to suffer in silence! It is their wish that they will receive news about their loved ones and/or to receive the remains of those killed to afford them a dignified burial.
On the International Day for the Disappeared, families and friends of the victims and the Victims’ Center call on the Government to take necessary measures without any further delay to expedite investigations to locate the burial sites of their loved ones. The Government should also undertake genuine and effective investigations of past human rights violations and ensure that perpetrators are held accountable. Furthermore, the Government should also take steps to commemorate the day and engage with families and friends of the disappeared and other victims of human rights violations and abuses.
The Victims Center