By Omar Bah
The director for Diaspora and Migration at the foreign affairs ministry, Musa Camara, has said his office has not received any information about reports of the European Union’s plans to restart deporting Gambians.
Yesterday, The Standard was reliably informed that the EU has reportedly sent a note verbale to the Gambia Government indicating its plans to reopen deportations.
Our source said the latest batch of deportees expected from Germany numbering 25 is due on June 8.
Yahya Sonko, a migration activist based in Germany, told The Standard they have been informed about the European Union’s message to the Gambia Government informing it about plans to resume deportation of Gambians who have exhausted their asylum application. “A senior EU official informed me about it,” Sonko said.
A concerned Mr Sonko added: “The government should start engaging their European partners regarding this deportation matter and they should start taking their responsibilities as a government. They cannot continue running away from their responsibilities – the government for years has been running from their responsibilities when it comes to issues of deportation and migration. They can do better, and we hope they will have better negotiations with the EU that would be a win-win for both.”
But when contacted for comments, Mr Camara said: “This is not to my attention.” He gave no further details.
More than 2,000 Gambian migrants who have exhausted their asylum appeals in Germany are awaiting repatriation.
In 2017, the EU and The Gambia government agreed on a Good Practice Document to accept deportation of Gambians from Germany.
According to initial plans, the first batch of “failed Gambian asylum-seekers” was expected to arrive in Banjul in September last year. But an official from Gambia’s foreign ministry told local media that Gambia’s new position is not to accept requests for deportations. Gambia has cited security concerns and the inability to reintegrate as reasons for its decision.
The EU has since decided to temporarily suspend the application of certain provisions in the visa code to nationals of The Gambia. It said the decision was taken due to the country’s lack of cooperation on readmission of third-country nationals illegally staying in the EU.