Human Rights, News

Anti-deportation protest hits Westfield

By Bekai Njie

Gambians, mainly young people today descended at the Westfield Youth Monument protesting against the manner of deportation of Gambians youths from Europe, particularly Germany and Italy.

They are calling on European police to stop maltreating and handcuffing their brothers and sisters as they await deportation camps.

The #No to Deportation Protest’ was organised by a movement called Concern Citizens. The angry youths included some deportees, their families and activists were chanting with placards inscription: “#Say No to Deportation, Gambia Government Say No to Deportations, #E.U., U.S. Don’t Deport Our People With Handcuffs and Shackles, Rise Against Deportation.

“The latest group of 20 deportees that arrived at the Banjul International Airport on Monday, 25 February, 2019 were handcuffed and have their legs shackled from Germany to Gambia. This is totally wrong and is against human rights,” said Omar Saibo Camara, secretary to the organisation, that staged a protest against this manner.

The youths, especially the deportees demanded for a need to match up to State House and the headquarter of The Gambia Immigration Department. But the organisers of the protest paid no attention to that, insisting they would confine themselves within the ambits of an allocated area.

“We demand that the European police stop such heartless, wicked and racist act now. We call on The Gambia government to address the harassment and rights violation meted out on our people during the process of deportation. This is very shameful and is undone. We are no longer in the time of slave trade and we will not tolerate such anymore.”

Camara called on President Barrow and his government to engage Europeans especially Germany and Italy, regarding the plight and welfare of Gambians. “Despite the international guidelines set aside on the issue of deportation, Gambia can engage the Europeans to re-prioritise or stop deportation.”

The government he added, needs to remember that the remittances from the Diaspora are estimated to represent about 20% of The Gambia’s gross domestic product and migrants form an integral part of this sector.

Mr. Camara claimed that since December last year, over 30 Gambians were deported and the German Interior minister has also assured that he would speed up mass deportation every month from onwards until the 2,500 identified Gambian refugees were deported.

“We expect The Gambia government to communicate effectively and professionally on issues of national concern such as the current trend of deportation but not to use a propagandist,” he stated, while accusing government spokesperson whom he said, discriminated and castigated Gambians in the Diaspora especially migrants and refugees.

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