German Refugee Council protest deportation of Gambian

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The Refugee Council in Germany has called for “an immediate halt to the deportation” of a Gambian youth, Dame Ndow, of the Baden-Württemberg state, a strongly worded statement released last week stated.

Dame Ndow, is a footballer and a student working as a volunteer at a home of the elderly in the said state. He was dragged out of his class by the German immigration police, in front of teachers and students in February this year.

“The Refugee Council has called on the Baden-Württemberg state government, to release Dame Ndow from detention, as well as suspend his deportation back to Gambia so that he can continue his education to care for the elderly,” the statement said.

The act has caused reaction in the said state in Germany, with supporters of Mr. Ndow launching an online petition against his deportation. Dame is scheduled to be deported before the 20th February and Gambian pro-asylum activists have called on The Gambia government to disallow the deportation of the young man.

Over 6, 500 supporters have already signed the online petition that was to be presented to the authorities in the Baden-Württemberg state last week.

According to the petition, Ndow worked in a nursing home for people with chronic mental illnesses since 2016, and is just learning the profession of geriatric nurse. As part of his work, he cares for the weakest in society and does “a valuable job”.

“He is in a rare kind of job, pays taxes, and, like any other responsible citizen, contributes to our continued prosperity. Despite this, he was picked up on the 2nd February 2018 with handcuffs from the geriatric nursing school for deportation,” the petition stated.

“Here we already have the next case of a well-integrated young person, who has a concrete perspective on a right to stay, that they want to deport, negating all his integration efforts,” said Seán McGinley, managing director of the Refugee Council of Baden-Württemberg.

McGinley described Dame’s case as a serious irony, the fact that the state took keen interest in what he said was “an effective right of residence for a well-integrated person”. Despite his efforts at educating himself to serve the German society, every opportunity is used to interpret the existing regulations as restrictively as possible, argued Seán McGinley.

Since his pick up by police at the school in Bad Mergentheim, Ndow was taken to a deportation detention center in Pforzheim.

He has been training as a geriatric care assistant. After applying for asylum, Dame Ndow was turned down, and the facility he volunteers at tried to apply for a “toleration” which was rejected. It was planned that in the summer of 2018, Dame Ndow would begin training as a geriatric nurse and thus receives a “training toleration”. A few days before the facility intended to appeal for a discretionary allowance until the beginning of nursing education, Dame got taken out of school.

“It is particularly inhuman and humiliating to get a student from the school class to deport. The school should be a protected place of learning. Such an approach is unbearable not only in relation to the person concerned, but also for the classmates and teachers. This does not seem to matter to the authorities. We can only repeat it: The deportation machinery in Baden-Wuerttemberg state is just going crazy,” said McGinley.

Gambia deportees

36 out of 120 Gambians have already been identified in Baden-Wuerttemberg state by Gambia’s Immigration officers sent to Germany in November 2016. It is not confirmed who provided them with travel certificates for the deportation to proceed, but fingers are pointing at the same Gambia Immigration authorities.

“Some of the target numbers are already in deportation camps and others in prison for felonious crimes such as drugs-related offices,” a pro-asylum activist based in Germany told The Point yesterday. In essence, it is The Gambia government that agreed to Germany sending back immigrants that exhaust all legal remedies, government sources in Baden-Wuerttemberg state said.

The President of Germany had said the number of Gambian immigrants up for deportation from Germany is up to 1,500 and fears are they would all be deported before December 2018. 

Author: Sanna Camara
Source: Picture: Dame Ndow