By Tabora Bojang
Gambian migrants in Germany have continued to live under intense fears and anxiety over the ongoing trend of deportations against rejected asylum seekers who continue to live and sleep in the streets of the Baden-Württemberg Region to evade deportation, according to a Gambian activist in a write-up shared with The Standard through the Gambians Refugee Association in Europe.
German publication bild quoted the Interior minister for Baden-Württemberg Region Thomas Strobl, as saying there are 2,500 Gambian refugees whose asylum cases have been rejected and are already identified to be deported.
There are 14,000 registered Gambia asylum seekers in Baden-Württemberg Region and the remaining are either waiting for an interview or have already got their documents.
According to the statement, many Gambians were deported in December 2018 and there are plans to deport many more at the end of February.
“This is indeed a great cause for concern for us. Most Gambians now prefer to sleep outside under a very cold weather than sleeping in their houses for fears that police can come in for us at any moment,” the write-up said.
The association said one of its member Yaya Sonko, a former teacher in the Gambia who is a renown human rights activist in Baden-Württemberg region visited Pfozheim Deportations Prison where dozens of arrested Gambian migrants were detained awaiting deportations.
“He was allowed by prison authorities to meet and talk to only 6 Gambian youth who are waiting for deportations, a Gambian boy Gibril is in very bad condition as he sustained serious injuries when he cuts himself with a blade after police arrested him in his house. Despite this he is under the deportation radar and will be deported if no possible means is taken to help him.”
The statement added that Amnesty International sends a representative to see Gibril’s condition in prison and he reported that his deportation should not be carried out because it contravenes human rights to carry deportations under such health risks.
“Despite international guidelines set aside on the issue of deportation, we thought it imperative for our government to engage the Europeans to re-prioritize deportation”
“As committed, hard working and dedicated Gambian youths, we want to be given the chance to work and get good integration in Europe and as well learn new skills for the next five years. This will enable us to work and contribute effectively towards the socio-economic development of the country.
“However, we cannot take care of our families and cannot make any useful contribution in our homeland if we are deported without getting any proper integration or learning new skills that can benefit us in Gambia.”
They warned that getting additional number of youths sent back home without any skills or knowledge to help them contribute their quota to the country’s development could bring some complications.
“We again reiterate our appeal to all concerned Gambians to convince our government to engage the European Union and authorities especially Germany and Italy regarding our plight and welfare in an effort to minimize the deportation trend.”
“We took a first step by writing officially to our country’s leader President Adama Barrow and his vice president, cabinet ministers of interior, justice, youth and sports, foreign affairs, speaker of the National Assembly and all other MPs as well as political party leaders to inform them of our situation and the earlier mentioned information about the ongoing deportation trend.
“However, up till now we have only received a notice via email from Hon. Sanna Jawara, UDP National Assembly Member for Upper Fulladu West; Lawyer Almamy Taal, Spokesperson of UDP, Hon. Halifa Sallah, National Assembly Member for Serrekunda Constituency, and Hon. Hadrammeh Sidibeh, Minister of Youth and Sports, acknowledging receipt of our letters addressed to them.”