Tag Archives: human rights

The Gambia – finding truth and reconciliation

TRRC billboard, depicting portraits from ‘Gambia – victims. and resisters’ Image ©Jason Florio, The Gambia, West Africa

The tiny West African republic, The Gambia, is a popular winter-sun holiday destination for Europeans. However, most tourists have little idea of the dark and shattered underbelly of ‘The Smiling Coast of Africa’, as the Gambia is fondly called. From 1994 -2017 President Yahya Jammeh ruled the Gambia as his fiefdom, crushing dissent, and opposition with brutality. His personal hit squad and National Intelligence Agency carried out tortures, assassinations, and acts of sexual violence with impunity – journalists were gunned down and disappeared, students shot in cold blood, and even his cousins were murdered on his order. 

A Gambian man wears a t-shirt of murdered newspaper editor and journalist, Deyda Hydara (June 9, 1946 – December 16, 2004). Hydara was assassinated by Gambian security forces on the orders of President Yahya Jammeh. Image ©Jason Florio
A Gambian man wears a t-shirt of murdered newspaper editor and journalist, Deyda Hydara (June 9, 1946 – December 16, 2004). Image ©Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio

In October 2018 the Truth Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) launched in The Gambia – a televised commission investigating the human rights violations under the 22-year dictatorial rule of President Yahya Jammeh. The TRRC, suspended over the past couple of months due to COVID19, resumed on Monday 8th June 2020, hearing testimonies from the victims and survivors of Jammeh’s rule, along with those of the alleged perpetrators. It is a long, and extremely painful process for many, to finally have their voices heard, but also to see and hear the voices of those who are implicated in meting out shocking tortures, killings, and human rights abuses, and about what happened to their loved ones. 

‘Gambia – victims, and resisters’

#Portraits4PostiveChange

For over three years, we have been collaborating closely with the Gambia Centre for Victims of Human Rights Violations, and the TRRC; and have created permanent and mobile exhibitions of the portraits and testimonies. The exhibitions have now become part of Victims Centre and TRRC outreach work around the country, to bring the stories of victims to the people, to create dialogue and discussion around human rights and justice in this fledgling democracy – in hopes of opening eyes and winning hearts and minds. And, we will continue making the portraits and filming testimonies once flights to Gambia resume after the lockdown.

Portrait of Amie Lowe - daughter of Ebou Lowe, a soldier executed on Yahya Jammeh's orders after being accused of a coup attempt, The Gambia, West Africa. Image ©Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio
Amie Lowe – daughter of Ebou Lowe, a soldier executed on Jammeh’s orders after being accused of a coup attempt. Image ©Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio
Portrait of Sankung Balajo - victims of President Yahya Jammeh's witch hunts, The Gambia, in 2009 © Jason Florio
Sankung Balajo – victim of President Yahya Jammeh’s ‘witch hunts’, The Gambia © Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio

The Gambia – finding truth and reconciliation

Amie Bayo - portrait, The Gambia, West Africa © Jason Florio 'Gambia - Victims and Resisters of a Regime',
Amie Bayo – Arrested after a peaceful protest, held for 11 days without due process, during which time she was beaten by security forces. © Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio
'Victims of Jammeh' The Gambia, West Africa - portraits by Jason Florio
Portraits from ‘Gambia – victims, and resisters’ The Gambia, West Africa. Images ©Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio
Photography exhibition opening night at the National Centre for Arts and Culture, Banjul. Portraits ©Jason Florio and Helen Jones-Florio Gambia-victims, and resisters, Portraits to Remember
Opening night of ‘Portraits to Remember’ exhibition at the National Centre for Arts & Culture, Banjul, The Gambia, in collaboration with ANEKED & Sites of Conscience. Portraits on display ©Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio. Exhibition Image ©Jason Florio

Current Location: June 2020 – easing lockdown in the UK

Assignment queries and image licensing – Contact here

Vimeo / Motion

error

‘I Cannot Bury My Father’ documentary release 13.01.2020

‘I Cannot Bury My Father‘ A Film by Nana-Jo Ndow/ANEKED

#ICannotBuryMyFather

A short documentary about the 56 West African migrants forcibly disappeared and killed in 2005 in Gambia by security forces on orders of ex-dictator Yahya Jammeh. The film follows Isaac Mensah, one of the victim’s sons, who shares the family’s account of how his father’s death/disappearance continues to take an emotional toll on the family; and his journey to more answers.

‘I Cannot Bury My Father’ – a documentary film by Nana-Jo Ndow/ANEKED
I Cannot Bury My Father‘ reflects on the need for a wider public conversation around migration, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, and the issue of ensuring accountability.

Released, Monday 13th January, 2020, you can watch the full documentary online now.
Media: Al Jazeera‘Still reeling from the Jammeh years, Gambians wait for justice’

#ICannotBuryMyFather

Director & Producer – Nana-Jo Ndow/ANEKED

Presenter – Isaac Mensah

Director of Photography – Jason Florio

Assistant Producer & Second Camera – Festus Jackson Davis

Editor – Gabriel Baron

Animator – Alexis Stern

Translator & Advisor – Zusong Tidana

___________________

See more of Jason Florio’s documentary work on his website

January 2020 – Currently in The Gambia, West Africa

Assignment queries and image licensing – Contact here

floriophoto.com

@jasonflorio / @floriotravels  / @jasonflorio_photoprints– Instagram

Jason Florio – Vimeo / Motion

floriophotoNYC – Twitter

Jason Florio Photojournalist – FB

error

#NeverAgainGambia – In Remembrance of Deyda Hydara, June 9, 1946 – December 16, 2004

A Gambian man wears a t-shirt of murdered newspaper editor and journalist, Deyda Hydara (June 9, 1946 – December 16, 2004). Hydara was assassinated by Gambian security forces on the orders of President Yahya Jammeh. Image ©Jason Florio
A young Gambian journalist wears a t-shirt of murdered newspaper editor and journalist, Deyda Hydara (June 9, 1946 – December 16, 2004). Image ©Jason Florio

#NeverAgainGambia Remembering Deyda Hydara, June 9, 1946 – December 16, 2004, The Gambia. Hydara was gunned down by assailants, whilst in his car, as he was returning from work, in 2004. He was a journalist and co-founder of The Point newspaper and an advocate of press freedom. Hydara was also a fierce critic of the government of President Yahya Jammeh, who was openly hostile to Gambian journalists and the media.

#NeverAgainGambia

Baba Hydara with the tattoo of his murdered father, Gambian newspaper editor, and journalist, Deyda Hydara, on his arm © Jason Florio

July 22nd, 2019 – At Gambia’s Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) on July 22, army officer Lieutenant Malick Jatta named former President Yahya Jammeh as the mastermind behind the murder of prominent editor Deyda Hydara on December 16 , 2004. He said Jammeh had given the direct order to assassinate Hydara, an outspoken critic who was the managing editor and co-owner of independent newspaper The Point. The operation by Jammeh’s infamous hit squad, known as the Junglers, was dubbed “Magic Pen,” Jatta told the commission. CPJ – By Angela Quintal/CPJ Africa Program Coordinator, The Committee to Protect Journalists

‘Gambia – victims, and resisters’
#Portraits4PositiveChange

Billboard Gambia victims and resisters,TRRC ©Jason Florio / Helen Jones-Florio #Portraits4PositiveChange
Billboard ‘Gambia-victims, and resisters’, The Gambia. Portraits ©Jason Florio / Helen Jones-Florio #Portraits4PositiveChange

Assignment queries and image licensing – Contact here

floriophoto.com

@jasonflorio / @floriotravels  / @jasonflorio_photoprints– Instagram

Jason Florio – Vimeo / Motion

floriophotoNYC – Twitter

Jason Florio Photojournalist – FB

error

Billboard Gambia Victims and Resisters – images ©Jason Florio

Billboard Gambia victims and resisters,TRRC ©Jason Florio / Helen Jones-Florio #Portraits4PositiveChange
Billboard Gambia victims and resisters ©Jason Florio / Helen Jones-Florio #Portraits4PositiveChange

‘The TRRC is not a court of law. It cannot prosecute or give amnesty. It can only recommend for prosecution or the granting of amnesty’

Billboard Gambia Victims and Resisters – huge thanks to the British High Commission Banjul, the Truth Reconciliation, and Reparations Commission (TRRC), and UNDPGambia, for their support, through these portraits and collected testimonies, on sharing the plight of the victims of the former Yahya Jammeh Regime

‘Gambia – victims, and Resisters’

See more of this on-going, multi-media, body of work at floriophoto.com. A collaboration with Helen Jones-Florio

#Portraits4PositiveChange

Victim of rape and beatings by Gambian security forces, The Gambia - portrait by Jason Florio
Bintu Nyabally was detained for five days, beaten and raped by three masked security officers at the Gambia Police Intervention Unit (PIU) HQ ©Jason Florio / Helen Jones-Florio From the series ‘Gambia – Victims and Resisters of a Regime’

“No, this was done to me, and I want justice…
these men should be punished” Bintu, victim of rape whilst in police custody

‘Bintu Nyabally was detained for five days, beaten and raped by three masked security officers at the Gambia Police Intervention Unit (PIU) HQ, after being arrested during a May 9th 2016 rally to demand the release of illegally detained protesters from previous rallies held on April 15th/16th, 2016. When asked if she would prefer that we keep her identity anonymous her adamant reply was “No, this was done to me, and I want justice…these men should be punished”‘ From the series ‘Gambia – Victims and Resisters of a Regime’

'Portraits for Positive Change' exhibition booklet ©Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio
#NeverAgain booklet, printed for the British High Commission exhibition, May 2019 ©Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio
Interviewing Ghanaian, Martin Kyere, sole survivor of the 2005 massacre of migrants in the Gambia ©Jason Florio
Interviewing Ghanaian, Martin Kyere, in Ghana – the sole survivor of a massacre that took place in The Gambia. Image © Jason Florio

Interviewing sole survivor of a massacre, Ghanaian, Martin Kyere. Martin was one of a group of over 50 West African migrants, who were endeavouring to reach Europe when the boat they boarded in Senegal veered off course and landed in The Gambia… read more

#NeverAgainGambia

Le Monde - #Portraits4PositiveChange Former deputy sheriff, Alagie Sonko was imprisoned after denouncing corruption in his service. ©Jason Florio
Le Monde Afrique – Former deputy sheriff, Alagie Sonko, was imprisoned after denouncing corruption in his service. ©Jason Florio / Helen Jones-Florio

Jason Florio is currently, in The Gambia, West Africa – Assignment queries

and image licensing – Contact here

floriophoto.com

@jasonflorio / @floriotravels  / @jasonflorio_photoprints– Instagram

Jason Florio – Vimeo

floriophotoNYC – Twitter

Jason Florio Photojournalist – FB

error