Gambia: Inclusion of Victims & Women in Transitional Justice!

27 October 2020
opinion

The inclusion of women especially victims of rights violation in transitional justice processes is critical to a society's ability to achieve sustainable peace.

Women experience conflict in unique ways and therefore can provide distinct perspectives on how best to confront the realities of their experience during their difficult past. In order to create solutions that benefit the whole of society, women's voices must be heard.

Dozens of victims and women right activists in the country have signed a petition calling for the inclusion of victims and women in the transitional justice process. These women acknowledged that 'if the transitional justice process is not victim-centered and gender-sensitive, it is not restorative, and it is not justice.'

The move is not only timely but important in strengthening the country's transitional justice process.

It is well known fact that that building long-lasting peace requires recognising and reconciling the deep-rooted wounds and its impacts. And transitional justice can contribute to sustained peace through a set of processes and mechanisms that facilitate accountability and reconciliation after conflict or political change.

The Gambia has undergone through terrible times during the former regime and in some cases it is the women who suffered the most. Apart from being victims themselves, they've also lost their sons and brothers and husbands. So this makes their inclusion in ongoing transitional justices even more vital.

We all know that transitional justice seeks to address issues arising from violations committed during conflict or political violence. More often than not, it is observed that women are also not appropriately represented in transitional justice discussions and mechanisms.

However, including women in transitional justice does not mean appointing them as deputies to men, including women does not mean making them the heads of gender units, including women does not mean giving them the floor only when it is time to discuss sexual and gender-based violence.

This discourse reduces women to their injury in a perpetrator centred way, rather than discussing the gendered power relations that lead to violations.

Meaningful inclusion of women, they believes, means having fifty percent of women in all discussions about which options to choose and mechanisms to put in place and then having equal representation of women and men in all of these created institutions.

We hope that authorities will reason to these call and make meaningful adjustments as far as inclusion of victims and women in transitional justices is concern.

"Encouraging intersectional approaches to victim identities that understand how gender and socio-economic background, as well as the political positions of individuals, affect inclusion effects."

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