By Landing Ceesay
The former lead counsel of the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission (TRRC), Essa Mbaye Faal said migrants/refugees are entitled to protection and other position treatments irrespective of who they are.
His comment followed the news of the alleged killing and maltreatment of African migrants trying to cross into Spain from Morocco.
“Migrants/refugees are entitled to protection, humane and dignified treatment no matter who they are or where they come from. The action of the Moroccan authorities is a breach of its international obligations and deserves international condemnation as it is contrary to international law, human rights law and all norms of decency and civilized behaviour.
“I am shocked and angry at the brutality, inhumane and degrading treatment the Moroccan security personnel meted out on our African brothers. Recent reports indicate that scores or even up to 100 migrants were savagely beaten to death and hundreds more were injured. This by itself constitutes a massive crime and an egregious human rights violation. To add insult to injury, the migrants, many of whom were badly injured, were dumped onto each other like sardines. No human being deserves such cruel maltreatment,” Mr Faal wrote on his Facebook page.
Mr. Faal said he did not make a statement when he first saw the ‘shocking’ video because he thought that it was so significant that the Gambia government would do something about it whether or not there was a Gambian victim.
He further stated that ‘unfortunately’, African governments remained mute and carried on with business as usual as if nothing untoward had happened.
“What a tragedy and betrayal of the AFRICAN youths by African governments especially those from sub-Saharan Africa. Now the AU is calling for an investigation,” he said.
The former TRRC lead counsel said a few days ago, he was in Italy where he met many migrants from The Gambia.
Faal said he visited the camps where the migrants are hosted and discussed with them and the managers of the camps the welfare of the migrants.
He said he was also invited to join the celebrations of World Refugee Day in Messina on 20th June where he was also honoured to address refugees and local authorities.
“I have heard horror stories about the perilous journeys of the migrants in their efforts to reach greener pastures all in the effort to better their lives or seek safety from persecution in the case of refugees. I stand shoulder to shoulder with them for their courage, perseverance and resilience. But we must ask the question: why should we allow our countries to be so dreadful that our young and able-bodied people would rather die in these perilous journeys to escape to “greener pastures” or safety rather than remain at home? The simple answer is lack of opportunities or protection. We must change!” he said.
Faal also said the Gambia’s biggest resources are the Gambians in the diaspora and its youthful population.
“These two must be harnessed for the advancement and development of the country and its people. This requires providing skills training and creating greater opportunities for the youths so that they would be confident of staying and making it at home and also creating an environment for diaspora Gambians to shift from subsistence remittances to investment remittances in The Gambia. Our development aspirations will remain unattainable, if we continue to downplay or overlook these issues,” Faal wrote on Facebook.
Essa Mbaye Faal was the lead counsel of the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission (TRRC), and later ran in the 2021 presidential election as an independent candidate but lost to the National People’s Party candidate Adama Barrow.