Minister Mai Ahmad Fatty on Thursday called on the European Union to act in
partnership on the root causes of migration, as he declared open a two-day
validation workshop on the draft national migration policy of The Gambia.
The European Union has been working with African countries to curb the sick issue of mass migration, with The Gambia remaining the bloc’s closest partner.
In a speech at Kairaba Beach Hotel, Minister Fatty said: “We urge our European partners 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.”
The Gambia remains a migrant producing nation and has in the past decade lost a swathe of her young citizens to Europe through the ‘backway.’
But according to Minister Fatty, the government through the Ministry of the Interior has now for the first time in migration annals in The Gambia developed a national policy document to help curb the phenomenon.
He said: “This policy should be anchored on the ideals of African solidarity as well as shared values, and 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 European Union ambassador to The Gambia, Attila Lajos, told participants that migration was not a recent concern for the EU.
An international summit to discuss migration issues between EU and African leaders took place in Valletta, Malta, in November 2015 and Ambassador Lajos said countries were committed to address the root causes of irregular migration.
Lajos added: “We want to work with you. 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 can’t 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 added.