The government has been urged to start discussions with its Gambian counterpart to pay the promised compensation to the West African migrants, including 44 Ghanaians, who were unlawfully killed in The Gambia in 2005.
A statement signed by Mr William Nyarko, Project Coordinator of Jammeh2Justice Ghana Coalition (J2J Ghana) and made available to the Ghana News Agency, said the government of Gambia had accepted recommendations of the Gambia Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC).
It is therefore important that the Ghana government-initiated discussions with the Gambian government ensure that families of Ghanaian victims of the heinous crime receive appropriate compensation.
The findings by TRRC were that ex-President Yahya Jammeh and 12 others under his command and control, were responsible for the unlawful killing, torture, and forced disappearances of over 50 West African migrants.
The Gambian government, therefore, agreed to pay a sum of thirty-two million, four hundred thousand Dalasi (about $600,000) as compensation to the victims of the 2005 massacre.
According to the statement these reparation 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,” the statement observed.
“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”, the statement pledged.
The J2J Ghana Coalition reiterated that the compensation amount of about $600,000 for 67 victims promised by the Gambian government was woefully inadequate saying 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.
It also encouraged 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.
The Jammeh2Justice Ghana Coalition is a Coalition of Civil Society Organizations led by the Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), to advocate justice and the payment of reparations for the victims’ families and survivors.
Other members of the Coalition include the Africa Centre for International Law and Accountability (ACILA); Amnesty International, Ghana; Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI); Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA); Human Rights Advocacy Centre (HRAC); and POS Foundation.