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TRRC report unravels gross sexual, gender-based violence by Jammeh 22-year era

Feb 4, 2022, 12:28 PM | Article By: Ali Jaw 

The report of the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) has unraveled gross sexual and gender based-violence perpetrated during the 22-year rule of ex-dictator Jammeh, especially on women and girls.

 

Sexual violence means, according to the TRRC report, any non-consensual sexual act, a threat or attempt to perform such an act, or compelling someone else to perform such an act on or with a third person. 

“These acts are considered as non-consensual when they involve violence, the threat of violence, or coercion.” 

“The ninth session of the public hearings of the Truth Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) held from October 14 -31, 2019, revealed that the 22 year rule of Yahya Abdul Aziz Jemus Junkung Jammeh (Yahya A.J.J.Jammeh) as President of The Gambia was characterised by widespread sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), according to the report

“Sexual violence was often perpetrated either as the main objective of certain human rights violations or it was used as an instrument of repression, torture and punishment. Across The Gambia, females were disproportionately affected by violations including sexual violence, torture, inhumane and degrading treatment, arbitrary arrest, detention and forced labour.”

“Some of the more appalling incidents examined by the Commission include (i) the sexual violence and abuse of participants of scholarship pageants and “protocol girls”; (ii) rape and sexualized torture by state security officials of male and female detainees; (iii) violations committed as part of the infamous purge of “witchcraft” and (iv) sexual violence during “the Presidential Alternative Treatment Programme.” (PATP).”

The document states that these violations were perpetrated mainly by security agents and former government officials.

“The Commission received credible evidence that former President Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh himself, committed some of the most egregious of these violations against women and girls through a “sophisticated system” using state institutions and resources.”

On SGBV by former President Jammeh: “The Commission heard from victims and witnesses and received credible submissions that Former President Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh and his senior officials raped, sexually assaulted, sexually exploited and also subjected women and girls to other forms of sexual violence. These violations were committed in various locations, including in the premises of the State House of The Gambia and at Jammeh’s home in Kanilai.”

“Former President Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh orchestrated a system of using state institutions and officials to have access to young girls which enabled him to exploit and sexually abuse them.”

“The Commission heard how former President Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh targeted young girls who came from poor families and would entice them with gifts, promise of scholarships to study abroad, propose marriage and promised support for their impoverished families. He targeted students who took part in the “22nd July Beauty Pageant” and that he established a system of recruiting young women as “Protocol girls” who were sexually exploited. They would travel with him; some were housed within the State House compound and they were on the state payroll as State House employees.”

“Some of the girls were required to go into Jammeh’s room and he sexually abused them. The Commission was told that he –the former President Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh did not use protection when he raped the women (some were consensual) which led to several women falling pregnant. When he came to know they were pregnant, they were required to abort the pregnancies, they were fired from their jobs.”

“The Commission received credible testimonies and submissions that former President Yahya A.J.J Jammeh’s relative, Jimbee Jammeh, who also served as one of his aides at the State House, played a key role in this system of exploitation.”

“In 2016, she was appointed Deputy Chief of Protocol. The Commission heard that at times Jimbee Jammeh physically brought the women to Jammeh, even into his private bedroom and on several occasions, threatened those who refused to be with Jammeh and that she was present or nearby when the women were being raped or assaulted by him.”

“She was said to have forced some of the women to abort their pregnancies resulting from the rapes.”

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