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Saturday, July 13, 2024
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GOV’T URGED TO HALT MASS DEPORTATIONS

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By Omar Bah

Migration activist, Yahya Sonko, has appealed to the government to engage the European Union to halt the mass deportation of Gambian migrants.

Last year alone, 13 deportation flights arrived in The Gambia bringing more than 600 migrants.

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According to reports, two flights have already arrived in 2024 with 50 deportees and more are expected to return in the coming weeks and months.

Concerned about the numbers and the consequences of these deportations, Mr Sonko, a leading migration activist said: “In light of the recent developments concerning the deportation of Gambian nationals from Germany, we, as advocates for the rights and dignity of all Gambians, urge the government to take immediate action to halt the ongoing mass deportations”.

He disclosed that 12 Gambians are currently detained in various deportation centers across Germany, with a planned deportation set for 25 June, 2024. “Since Monday, eight of these detainees have faced judges and received deportation orders. Many of these individuals were apprehended at their workplaces, while others were taken from their homes early in the morning. The target for this operation is the deportation of 25 Gambian nationals. This ongoing deportation is said to be based on the Good Practice Agreement between the Gambia government and the European Union,” he said.

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Sonko said these deportations exacerbate the already challenging situation in The Gambia, where the government is struggling to manage high youth unemployment rates.

“The return of hundreds of citizens each year without adequate reintegration support only serves to worsen the socioeconomic conditions for deportees and their families. We call on the government to halt the mass deportations, immediately suspend the ongoing monthly mass deportations agreed upon with the EU, address reintegration needs, develop and implement comprehensive profiling and reintegration programs to support deportees, ensuring they can reintegrate sustainably into society,” Sonko said.

The Germany-based activist also urged government to advocate for rights to ensure that Gambian immigrants facing deportation are provided with legal support and are informed of their rights and options, including voluntary return.

“I urge the families of deported individuals to welcome their loved ones back with open arms and provide them with necessary emotional and social support to help them reintegrate. Our deported compatriots are often hardworking and law-abiding individuals who deserve a second chance at building a life in their home country. Gambians facing deportation threats are advised to consult their lawyers to explore all possible legal avenues. Voluntary departure is also an option that should be considered to avoid the stigma and trauma associated with forced deportation,” Sonko added.

He said the ongoing mass deportations present a critical challenge that requires urgent attention and action from the Gambia government.

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