By Saikou Suwareh Jabai (Prof)
The European Union funded project on ‘Strengthening the management and governance of migration and the sustainable reintegration of returning migrants in The Gambia’ seeks to return at least 300 Gambian migrants from Europe. The Stone Circle lay its hand on the official action document that is been entered by the Gambia government and the donors.
In an agreement implementation period of three months, a total of 1200 Gambian migrants should return from across Africa while 300 Gambians among them should return from Europe. The returnees, according the document, will benefit from reintegration assistance.
The Director of the National Youth Council, Lamin Darboe, confirmed the report, during an interview with The Stone Circle.
Reacting to the recent return of 140 Gambian migrants that came last month, the youth leader said it’s important to look at the EU funded agreement as to whether it is meant for them (stakeholders) or Gambian youths.
He clarified that the returnees voluntarily accepted to come back to Gambia and were not forcefully deported as some claimed. While welcoming the returnees, the director added that they have the right to enjoy the ‘new Gambia’.
“They are just innocent victims of circumstance. So if they decide to return I will applaud their courage, determination and hopefulness.”
Picture: NYC Director Darboe
The director spoke about the crucial need for the returnees to be integrated and empowered.
“As National Youth Council, we were not part of the discussions (EU – Gambia agreement). We also heard about it from the media and contacted the authorities. We are pursuing the issue to ensure that we are able to establish all that supposed to be done for these young people.”
He said among the 140 migrants repatriated, 3 of them are Senegalese.
In a separate but similar development, a hundred and sixty nine (169) Gambian migrants returned home on Tuesday 4th April, 2017, after journeying across the Sahara in harsh conditions only to get stuck in Libya, most in jails far short of their intended destination in Europe.