Minister of the Interior Mai Ahmad Fatty has heaped praises on Gambians in the
diaspora for their positive contribution towards national development.
Fatty spoke yesterday as he briefed journalists on the recent trip he made to Rwanda, the venue for a high level meeting on the adoption of an African Union procedure on Migration, Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons.
Last week’s meeting in Kigali was attended by African ministers and experts in the areas of migration, refugees and forced displacement matters.
Minister Fatty said the participating ministers proposed new amendments with regard to the current AU procedure on the free movement of persons on the continent.
“The first one is the right of entry, or in other words, the abolition of visas,” he said. “This was very significant because for the first time, we have concretised the requirement for the quick movement towards the abolition of visas throughout the continent. The second is the right of residence in Africa and the third is the right of establishment.”
Deportation, Gambians in the Diaspora
Minister Fatty said the Barrow administration has no interest to return any Gambian from any part of the world as “Gambians in the diaspora are contributing millions and millions of dollars to our GDP.”
He said: “They are maintaining families, pay school [fees]; [and] improving our real estate infrastructure. They are contributing significantly to national development. Our government will rather empower those Gambians in the diaspora and make it possible for them to do more.”
“And we have not concluded any deal from any government for the mass deportation of Gambians. This is false; the smear campaign going on social media that The Gambia government has received some money from some countries in exchange for deporting our citizens. I don’t think anybody will sell your child to a cannibal. Those are outrageous.”
Gambians in Libya
Minister Fatty while in Rwanda held talks with the Libyan delegation to the meeting and said, the “meeting was focused on strengthening our relationship and to engage the Libyan authorities directly on the problems our citizens are facing in Libya”.
He said: “For The Gambia, Libya is a very important transit route. Thousands of our citizens pass through Libya. And we still have hundreds of them in detention camps in Libya in very bad and poor conditions. We’ve had instances where voluntary returnees from Libya come with gunshot wounds, and in very decrepit physical circumstances.”
He said the responsibility of every government is to protect and look after the welfare of its citizens whether in the country or in the diaspora.
He added: “The citizens must feel the protective mechanism of the state and so we have in Libya, it was an opportunity to express these concerns and to engage the Libyan authorities directly on the problems our citizens are facing in Libya. After all, we are also talking about the thematic areas of the common African position on migration and that means Libya has a responsibility to protect Gambians nationals, to treat them humanely in accordance with international and domestic laws.
“That is why the meeting I had with the Libyan delegation focused on strengthening cooperation between the two sides but more particularly on the treatment of our nationals in that country particularly those who are in the hands of the warring factions and various militias. For Libya, we will do everything in our power to ease the condition of our people and to pave an exit route for those who want to leave the country.”