Transitional justice and children in The Gambia
Making the voices of children heard in The Gambia’s transitional justice process
As the Government of The Gambia pursues truth and reconciliation after 22 years of repressive rule by the previous government, UNICEF is supporting the reconciliation process by ensuring children’s voices are heard and articulated in the Transitional Justice agenda of the government. As part of UNICEF’s efforts, in November 2017, UNICEF, in collaboration with the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education and the Department of Social Welfare, the National Youth Council, Child Protection Alliance and the Gambia Centre Victims on Human Rights Violations embarked on a nationwide workshop to inform and sensitize children and youth on their role in the transitional justice process.
The workshop was organized and designed specifically for the youth of The Gambia. 1500 children and youth aged between 14 and 18 years old from the 7 administrative areas, participated to the workshop, including in and out of school children and children with disability. 148 schools were reached across the regions and a minimum of 100 children from 10 to 20 different schools participated in each workshop.
The workshop sessions were aimed at introducing the concept of transitional justice, sensitize the children and youth on the objectives of the TRRC, raise awareness on children's fundamental rights under international laws and domestic laws and most importantly obtain the views and opinions of the children and youth about the TRRC and highlight the importance of their role in national development.
The team highlighted the importance of the role of children in the country's transition and encourage them to take actions to advocate for their rights. The children and youth realized the importance of active participation in the transitional justice process to have their voices heard and their rights represented. The workshop gave the children the opportunity to express themselves about their experiences under the previous regime and the violations and difficulties that they or their families have been through. The youth shared their concerns and expectations for the future, and their recommendations to the new government and the establishment of the TRRC.