By Buba Gagigo
In a letter written to the Minister of Youth and Sports and the Director of the National Youth Council, Germany-based migration activist, Yahya Sonko, has revealed that more than 400 Gambians were deported from Germany between 2017 and 2022.
Mr. Sonko, in his letter to the authorities, delved into the dilemma faced by returned migrants and made inquiries about whether the relevant authorities are aware of the plight of the returnees.
“Dear Honorary Minister of Youth and Sports Bakary Badjie and Honorably Executive Director of National Youth Council Alhagie Jarju. With this interesting theme above, are your honorable offices informed that more than 400 Gambian youths were deported from 2017 to 2022? My dear leaders and comrades in youth development, are you aware that 90% of these forcefully returnees are not supported or given any reintegration support for the past years, this is the biggest weakness, backwardness, and security threat to our families, societies, or communities and as a country,” he said. “My able Honorably youth leaders, you would agree with me that Return migration is not always a process of Simply GOING HOME. Particularly when return is not fully Voluntary, returnees face severe obstacles. Return can only become sustainable when returnees are provided with possibilities to become re-embedded in terms of economic, social network, and psychosocial dimensions. “Comrades and youth leaders, I hope this upcoming NAYCONF would cater to these returnees, and they would be informed what the Government of The Gambia and stakeholders have for them in terms of sustainable reintegration in their various communities.
I will conclude by saying capacity building for stakeholders is enough, let’s seriously focus on building the capacity of youth more especially returnees from Diaspora,” he concluded in his letter. The forthcoming National Youth Conference and Festival (NAYCONF) is the 13th edition of the event. It will be held from 15th to 23rd December 2022 in Banjul.
Yahya Sonko is a youth migration advocate and also the speaker for Gambians at the Refugee Council of Baden-Württemberg in Germany.