By Olimatou Coker
Gambia Red Cross Society, GRCS in partnership with the UN High Commission for Refugees last week launched a mixed movement project.
The project seeks to establish an identification and referral mechanism of persons of concern to UNHCR travelling within mixed movement, and pursue the establishment of a protection and monitoring of mixed flows in The Gambia.
The initiative is also expected to map out the existing assistance and protection services along key migratory routes.
Babu Darboe, Gambia Red Cross Society program moderator, said West Africa has always been a place of significant mobility and mixed populations, saying every year tens of thousands of migrants and refugees make the journey from their place of origin to another within the continent.
Darboe said The Gambia is one of the countries mostly affected by the movement of people and transit of refugees, saying when it comes to migrants who cross from Africa to Europe in 2017 “The Gambia was ranked 5th in the list of the main countries of origin”.
The representative of the UNHCR country director, Omar Camara asserted that over the years they have realised that traditional approach of refugees protection needs to be shifted to accommodate mixed migration.
Camara said the UNHCR is mandated by the UN General Assembly to coordinate and give international protection to refugees and other persons including asylum seekers or stateless persons.
“In Libya, UNHCR is working on evacuating thousands of individuals out of Libya and place them in places like Niger and Burkina Faso.”
Alhassan Senghore, secretary general GRCS, also spoke at the event and hailed the coming of the mixed movements project.
Meanwhile, the UN resident coordinator to The Gambia, Seraphine Wakana, said UN has been partnering with Red Cross Societies in many countries and that is why she was keen to visit the Red Cross in The Gambia.