By: Foday Manneh
As uncertainty continues to grow among some sections of the Gambian community, including failed asylum seekers in Germany, which reports of mass deportations, Gambians in Germany are expected to stage a peaceful demonstration in Stuttgart on Saturday, May 27, 2023, against the mass deportation of the citizens of the tiny West African nation recently.
Migration and human rights activist, Yahya Sonko, told the Alkamba Times that the recent number of deportation to the Gambia is alarming and that they are ready to take up the streets and call for an immediate stop from the European Union and the Gambian government.
“On Wednesday, thirty-five Gambians were deported and were escorted by 130 German police officers. More Gambians are getting arrested daily in Germany and other European countries to be deported,” Sonko said.
“We have requested a police permit to go out for a demonstration in Stuttgart, Germany, to call on a stop to this massive deportation.”
“We are also doing a lot of engagements with the Gambian authorities, the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Interior. We have talked to them about how these deportees are treated en route back to Gambia. So we will continue to do that,” he added.
According to Sonko, more than 500 Gambians have been deported from 2017 to date following an agreement deal signed between the European Union and the government of the Gambia, arguing,’ this deal has left the latter in a funny situation, having unable to reverse their decision.’
“The deal is called the “Good Practice” document signed in early April 2018, and it clearly says that fifty Gambians should be deported every month from Europe. The Gambia government is now crying that they are helpless in this situation because of the deal they signed, which is their fault they cannot reverse anything,” Yahya told TAT.
Sonko revealed that other European governments are now using this agreement to strengthen their political agenda in a bid to regularise the issue of irregular migration and migrants, while the Gambia continues to stand under pressure as the EU threatens to levy sanctions should they fail to accept their citizens.
“There are other threats such as Visa sanctions and Economic sanctions from the EU, which are forcing the Gambia to receive their citizens with no objection because they have no choice,”
“The only ground EU is saying is that we have signed a deal with you, and you have to accept that, so most of the Gambians who could not seek asylum are left in a dilemma. Of course, you can appeal, but the EU is sticking to one thing: you must leave because of the deal,” the activist maintained.
The Gambia has received more than eighty-seven deportees from Germany, which is getting higher as confirmed by the EU, who are ready to send nine deportation chartered flights to the Gambia in 2023, already two of which have arrived with seven more left to come.
The right activist said 90% of the deported Gambians are now struggling with their lives from scratch. “I am in contact with almost all of them, providing counseling and psychosocial support.”
“These people went through a lot to get to Europe to try to improve their lives and the lives of their families back home. They are back, and some need support as they came with critical conditions.”