Gambia marks One Billion Rising for Justice

Participants marching from Traffic Light to TANGO

By Baboucarr Ceesay

Women, men and young people drawn from different walks of life in The Gambia on Friday went on a street parade to commemorate One Billion Rising for Justice.

The rising in the Gambia by Gambia Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children, GAMCOTRAP in partnership with The Association of Non-Governmental Organisations, TANGO on Friday 14 February 2014.

It commenced with a street parade from the traffic lights on Kairaba Avenue along Bertil Harding Highway to TANGO head office where an open forum on ‘Rising for Justice’, the global theme for the 2014 One Billion Rising Campaign continue.

The gathering spoke up against all forms of injustices. Prominent among the issues discussed were violence against women.

The chairman of the occasion, Madi Jobarteh, programme director at TANGO, an outspoken Gambian activist and Pan-Africanist described the day as a day of reflection for men who have been involved in violating the rights of women by raping, battering, harassing among others.

Mary Small senior programme coordinator of GAMCOTRAP stated that it is justified for The Gambia to rise for justice, and for survivors to dance for justice, and sing for justice as it will take many years to overturn the challenges.

She said it is not just the general public that blames these victims but this hostility finds its way into the criminal justice system, in the attitudes of some police, prosecutors and juries.

Fatou Kinteh a representative of UNFPA said a battered woman who has suffered bodily harm cannot participate in various development activities.

Mrs Kinteh added: “A young girl who is forced to marry an older man of a different generation will be faced with continuous adjustments due to the mismatch which may impede her opportunities for development.”

The executive director of TANGO, Ousman Yarbo said the day’s rising is not a celebration but demanding for rights.

He challenged participants that the work of fighting against injustice and bad governance is a collective responsibility that require participatory approach.

Amie Bojang Sissoho programme coordinator of GAMCOTRAP and co-chair of the event said the One Billion Rising Campaign event known as V-Day is led by Eve Ensler to say ‘No to Violence against Women’ and to bring attention to the one billion women who suffer different forms of violence.

“It is sixteen years ago when the Executive Director of V-Day Eve Ensler started a worldwide movement on the 14th February  to highlight the various forms of violence women and girls face across race, status or geographical location when she wrote the Vagina Monologue, which gave case studies of different forms of violence on women.”

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