The Gambia - Victims & Resisters
by Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio

project STATEMENT

The Gambia, in West Africa, is a popular winter sun holiday destination, but most tourists are unaware of the recently dark history of “The Smiling Coast of Africa”—as it is fondly known. From 1994 to 2017, President Yahya Jammeh ruled the Gambia as his fiefdom—crushing dissent and opposition with brutality. His hit squad and intelligence agency carried out tortures, assassinations, and acts of sexual violence with impunity. Journalists were gunned down and disappeared, students were shot in cold blood, and even his siblings were murdered on his orders. Despite years of elections rigged in Jammeh’s favour, he lost the presidential bid in 2016 and fled into exile. The country started on a path of healing. The photographs and testimonies are part of the ongoing project to give a face and a voice to those who survived horrific human rights abuses—to the families who lost loved ones and to those who resisted. The work is also being used as a tool for advocacy by NGOs and Gambia’s Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission in their outreach programs—to create dialogue around human rights and transitional justice, along with forming a historical record for future generations.

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