Njundu Drammeh

“Anyone who has had their human rights violated has a right to have the violation remedied” And the State, as the primary duty bearer, has the obligation to remedy the violation. It doesn’t matter under which Government such a violation happened. We do not lose rights in the “jungle” of time to regain it at the pleasure of another individual.

Governments come and go but the State remains, fixed and anchored with a particular permanence. Every Government passes its credits and liabilities, balance sheet, to its successor. Thus, while the Jammeh Government was the butcher of the April 10 and 11 2000 student protest, it is the Barrow Government which now has the obligation to give justice to the victims.

The students were shot and brutalized by agents of the State, through order given by agents of the State, entire episode overseen by agents of the State, and everything done in the name of the State. And that State is still alive and kicking. The current Government of the State cannot run away from its obligation to fulfil the rights of the victims. It now has the onus.

And the State, through the Government, should know that fulfilling the rights of these victims is not a matter of charity, favour, compassion or good will but rather obligations which it must fulfil. The victims are not objects of rights but subjects of rights, individuals with inalienable rights.

Fundamentally, some of the victims need medical attention, overseas treatment, to restore their health, to be able to move a limb, to live dignified lives, to be able to enjoy and do what they used to enjoy in their childhood. Some need to go back to school, to be able to fulfil their childhood dreams or career aspirations. We cannot allow these dreams to die in their infancy. Some need vocational training, to become productive members of society, to become less dependant on others. These are not too much a demand for the State to fulfil.

If the State cannot protect its weakest members, who would? If State cannot use its resources to restore dignity or remedy human rights violations of its most vulnerable, who should?

The victims of April 10 and 11 2000 are citizens of The Gambia too. Like the rest of us.