Gambia government, through the Ministry of the Interior, has developed a
national policy to curb the massive outflow of able-bodied Gambian youth
through the irregular route to Europe, a phenomenon locally known as back-way.
The draft National Migration Policy of The Gambia was validated at a two-day workshop which was opened at Kairaba Beach Hotel yesterday. The forum was organised to provide all the relevant stakeholders the platform to review, amend and validate the policy before its endorsement for implementation.
Speaking on the occasion, Interior Minister Mai Ahmad Fatty said the national migration policy should be anchored on the ideals of African solidarity as well as shared values.
He added that the document should be informed by existing African Union frameworks including the AU Migration Policy Framework for Africa, the African Common Position on Migration and Development of 2006, the Common African Perspective for Valetta Summit on Migration of 2015, and Agenda 2063.
The minister called on the European Union (EU) to act in partnership on the root causes of migration: poverty, climate change, lack of democratic spaces, violations of human rights, and opportunities for life.
EU has been working with African countries to curb the sick issue of mass migration, and The Gambia remains the bloc’s closest partner as a migrant producing nation.
EU Ambassador to The Gambia Attila Lajos said an international summit to discuss migration issues between EU and African leaders took place in Valletta, Malta, in November 2015 and countries made commitment to address the root causes of irregular migration.
Lajos added: “Tomorrow, I will have the pleasure of joining Honourable Minister Fatty and Madam Chief of Mission [for International Organisation for Migration] for the launch ceremony of the EU-IOM initiative for migrant protection and reintegration in Africa under the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, which will surely reinforce the cooperation between the EU and The Gambia on migration management.”
Earlier, Fumiko Nagano, Chief of Mission for the International Organisation for Migration, said the workshop provided a platform for relevant stakeholders to review, amend and validate the draft National Migration Policy before its endorsement for implementation.
She said: “As migration is a cross-cutting theme, the development of comprehensive and holistic systems that protect the rights of migrants and ensure that migration is both safe and beneficial for the migrants and the country as a whole would require a whole-of-government approach.”
Bulli Dibba, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of the Interior, said The Gambia cannot afford to ignore migration and its impact.
“It has become imperative for the country to be more proactive in developing programmes to harness the benefits of organised migration for national development in line with the transformation agenda of President Adama Barrow,” he said.