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Government urged to pursue reparations for Jammeh massacre victims

BY: Isaac Yeboah
Yahya Jammeh ruled The Gambia for 22 years and sanctioned the killings
Yahya Jammeh ruled The Gambia for 22 years and sanctioned the killings

The Government of Ghana has been urged to urgently contact families of victims of the 2005 Yahya Jammeh-inspired massacre in The Gambia, of a number of Ghanaians and other West Africans to pursue reparations due them.

The Jammeh2Justice Ghana Coalition, a coalition of civil society organisations led by the Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), to advocate justice and the payment of reparations for the victims’ families and survivors, says it is disappointed government has not made any move in that direction so far.

According to Jammeh2Justice Ghana, The Gambian government has already agreed to pay about $600,000 for about 67 victims of the “the unlawful killing, torture, and enforced disappearances” of the West African migrants.

In a statement issued Monday, July 18, 2022, the coalition said while the promised reparation, determined by The Gambia’s Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) which established former President Yahya Jammeh’s culpability in the killings, is woefully inadequate, it expects the Government of Ghana to initiate discussions with the Gambian Government.

“Following the findings by the Gambia Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) that ex-President Yahya Jammeh and 12 others under his command and control were responsible for the unlawful killing, torture, and enforced disappearances of over 50 West African migrants, the Gambian government on May 25, 2022, accepted the recommendations of the TRRC to pay a sum of thirty-two million, four hundred thousand Dalasi (about $600,000) as compensation to the victims of the 2005 massacre. These reparations payments were directed to be paid as soon as possible through the respective governments of the countries of origin of the victims.

”Since the release of the white paper, the J2J Ghana Coalition, the victims' families, and survivors expected the government of Ghana, which is mandated to receive the money for onward payment, to contact the victims’ families and survivors, and publicly provide information about the steps it is taking to ensure the Gambian government pays the reparations to them.

“Regrettably, no such contact has been made, and action has not been taken. In this regard, we urge the government of Ghana to, as a matter of urgency, contact the victims’ families and survivors. The J2J Ghana Coalition, which has remained in contact with the victims’ families and survivors, is ready to assist the government in such engagement.

“We also reiterate our earlier call that the compensation amount of about $600,000 for 67 victims promised by the Gambian government is woefully inadequate and that the said amount, if paid, should be considered as a first payment towards the payment of additional and adequate compensation to the victims’ families and survivors. The J2J Ghana would like to encourage the Ghana government to consider further negotiations with the government of the Gambia to secure additional and adequate financial support for the survivors and victims.”