Victims, perpetrators of human rights violation reconcile in URR

Jan 12, 2021, 1:29 PM | Article By: Momodou Jawo

A day-long Peace, Justice and Reconciliation Bantaba, was held over the weekend at Nyakoi Madina Koto village in Wulli West District of the Upper River Region (URR). The forum was organised by Beakanyang with funding from the Africa Transitional Justice Legacy Fund.

The ceremony brought together over 100 participants, mainly victims and survivors of human rights violations and their perpetrators.

In his welcome address, Mr. Nfamara Jawneh, executive director of Beakanyang, said such programmes could be emotional for victims but are needed to bring closure to them.

The programme was held as part of an eight-month project called “Badingbung” meaning (family house) which seeks to use traditional methods of truth seeking, justice and reconciliation.

According to him, the forum seeks to provide victims of human rights violations a community platform to share their stories and encourage perpetrators to accept the truth and seek for forgiveness from their victims.

“It’s our humble opinion that this programme will provide an opportunity for survivors and victims in Wulli who are yet to appear before the TRRC to also share their stores with the rest of the country,” he noted.

He added: “We have documented the stories of many victims and we realised that many people including those of you here present are survivors of gross human rights violations mostly meted on you by the former government.”

In his keynote address, Alhagie Mbemba Jabbi, the chairman of Badingbung who is also the alkalo of Taibatou, said such forums will promote truth telling, community healing and reconciliation while restoring broken relationships.

Speaking earlier, Hon. Seedia Jatta, National Assembly member for Wulli also appealed to victims to consider forgiving their perpetrators. He warned against retaliation which he believes is not the best option for reconciliation.

Lead facilitator Oustass Makeh Jagne of Bantunding village urged victims to forgive their perpetrators especially when they apologise to them.

He called for respect for human rights to promote social-cohesion, peace and sustainable national development.