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IHRDA trains Gambia Bar Association on combating enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings

Jun 25, 2021, 10:29 AM | Article By: Sankulleh Gibril Janko

The Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA) with support from the European Union began a two-day capacity training on Tuesday for members of the Gambia Bar Association on enforced disappearance and extrajudicial killings in The Gambia.

The training dubbed‘Collaboration Implementing Training Workshop on Enforced Disappearance and Extrajudicial Killings for Gambia Bar Association’ is under a project titled: Increasing accountability, and preventing enforced disappearance and extrajudicial killings in Mexico, Nepal, The Gambia and beyond.

The objectives of the capacity training include enhancing the capacity of legal practitioners on existing national, regional and international frameworks and best practices in combating impunity for ED and EJK.

The training also aims to develop strategies on exerting pressure on the government of the Gambia to implement the recommendations of the TRRC via litigation against perpetrators.

It hopes to enhance the capacity of legal practitioners on best practices in litigating ED and EJK at the national, regional and international level.

The executive director of Institution for Human Rights and Development in Africa, Gaye Sowe emphasised the importance of involving lawyers in pro TRRC Gambia with possibilities of trials involving perpetrators.

“We are coming out of a very difficult past. We were all here during the public hearings of the TRRC.Weknow there were human right violations; some would go as far as saying the human right violations were serious and massive.

 “And you could hear from the closing remarks that there were instances of extrajudicial killings, there were also instances of enforced disappearances.”

He said legal practitioners will play a crucial role in exerting pressure on the government to implement the recommendations of the TRRC, adding that their services will also be needed when the commission recommends trials for perpetrators.

The secretary general of the Gambia Bar Association, Ya Amie Touray in making reference to the testimonies at the TRRC, reiterated on the human right violations including enforced disappearance and extrajudicial killings that occurred in the country.

The GBA SG said: “This training in some way will help equip us legal practitioners in playing our role post TRRC which we hope and expect would ensure that perpetrators of gross human rights violations are held accountable and most importantly we as Gambians are at the forefront of this process.”

The EU programme manager in The Gambia Sara Mahonen, highlighted the significance of the project, saying it is being implemented beyond Gambian borders which makes it unique as members are expected to learn from each other’s experiences.

She hopes reconciliation and reparation will be attained, adding “this is an important milestone for the Gambia in order to commemorate the victims of human rights violations which occurred during the previous regime.”

In addition to building capacity of legal practitioners around the continent, IHRDA provides legal assistance and legal information where necessary.

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