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Advocate Urges Gambia’s Government To Stop Large-Scale Deportations Of Its Citizens

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Returnee at the Banjul International Airport

By Buba Gagigo 

Yahya Sonko, a Migration Advocate residing in Germany, has called on the Gambian Government to halt the ongoing mass deportations of Gambian nationals from the European Union.

Sonko highlighted the urgency of the situation, noting that 12 Gambians are currently detained in various deportation centers across Germany, with deportation orders for eight of them already issued. The planned deportation date for these individuals is set for June 25, 2024. He emphasized that many were detained at their workplaces or taken from their homes early in the morning. 

“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 Gambian government to take immediate action to halt the ongoing mass deportations. Currently, 12 Gambians are detained in various deportation centers across Germany, with a planned deportation date set for June 25, 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,” he said.

Sonko revealed that the operation targets 25 Gambian nationals and is part of the Good Practice Agreement between the Gambian government and the EU. He pointed out that these deportations exacerbate the already challenging economic conditions in The Gambia, where high youth unemployment rates persist. The return of hundreds of citizens annually without adequate reintegration support worsens the socioeconomic situation for deportees and their families.

“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.

Sonko’s appeal to the Gambian government includes three key points:

  1. “Halt Mass Deportations: Immediately suspend the ongoing monthly mass deportations agreed upon with the EU.
  2. Address Reintegration Needs: Develop and implement comprehensive profiling and reintegration programs to support deportees, ensuring they can reintegrate sustainably into society.
  3. Advocate for Rights: Ensure that Gambian immigrants facing deportation are provided with legal support and are informed of their rights and options, including voluntary return.”

Additionally, Sonko urged families of deported individuals to welcome their loved ones back with open arms and provide necessary emotional and social support. He stressed that deported Gambians are often hardworking and law-abiding individuals who deserve a second chance to rebuild their lives in their home country.


“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. The ongoing mass deportations present a critical challenge that requires urgent attention and action from the Gambian government. We stand firm in our commitment to advocating for the rights and dignity of all Gambians and urge the government to prioritize the well-being of its citizens both at home and abroad,” he said.

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