Women’ Peace Forum Gambia Branch Visits Gambian Refugees in Casamance

By Amie Sillah

The Gambia Forum branch did visit some refugees in Casamance Diouloulou as an activity to give solidarity to Gambians who were sheltered by relatives to encourage them to come back home with assurance that peace is prevailing in the country and they can come back home with their families.

   The Women Forum was formed in 2013 in response to several factors particularly geographical and geopolitical following the outbreak of conflict in the Casamance region. The Women Forum comprises trained mediators among them as well as other women ranging from academia to grassroots women of all walks of life. They come from all regions in Senegal, the Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Mali and Guinea Conakry. The main focus of work of the Forum is as Mediators to contribute to mediation and dialogue when the need arises in the Sub-region. Over the years, the Women’ Forum has organized activities  relating to UNSCR 1325 at the national level in the said countries as well as build synergies with other civil society partners , populations and government institutions at different levels.
Gambia’ post electoral crisis led to an impasse which threatened unstable and insecure environment which has led to the refugee crisis people migrating to Senegal and Guinea Bissau as well as Gambia’ rural areas away from the source of conflict.
The Forum convened an urgent meeting in Zuinghor in December, 2016 as a result of the impasse and adopted a Declaration on 27 December, and it also initiated a mission to Banjul to meet both outgoing President Jammeh and President Elect Barrow to try to give their viewpoint on the issue Outgoing President Jammeh, his Vice president Isatou Njie –Saidy as well as the Executive Director Women’ Bureau Mrs. Binta Jammeh – Sidibe but these people did not avail themselves to meet the delegation.However President Elect Barrow gave the Forum audience with encouraging words. The camp of the incumbent did receive the Forum’ declaration and correspondence letter for the sake of transparency and accountability.
A Peace tent was also organized by the Gambia Forum Branch and the issues highlighted were that the Forum emphasized a non- violent solution of the impasse and even though the other Forum members were unable to attend because of the tense situation all of them sent Solidarity messages which were read to the members in attendance.