Refugee ID cards need to be respected -DPS Interior

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Lamin Camara, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of the Interior has stated that the identity cards of the refugees in the country need to be respected.

The Ministry of the Interior, he said, has attached great importance to the plight of refugees and would like to strongly appeal to various institutions to recognise the refugees’ ID cards so that they do their daily activities without any problem.

PS Camara made these remarks at the NaNA Conference Hall during a day-long advocacy workshop on the recognition of refugees’ identify cards as a valid document in The Gambia.

The forum, officials said is aimed at bringing stakeholders from the financial institutions, commercial banks, service providers (GSM companies) and relevant government authorities to discuss the significance of the refugees’ ID cards.

He recalled that since 2015, the refugees’ identity cards were initiated and accepted with a view to help refugees do their transactions in many places such as banks, media places and GSM companies among others social activities.

The commissioner for Refugees, Ensa Jawara, recalled that since 2015, the government of The Gambia has agreed for all the relevant stakeholders in The Gambia to respect the refugees’ ID cards for the fact that they are vulnerable people who leave their countries and decided to come here because they feel Gambia is peaceful for them to stay and do their normal transactions.

The protection of refugees is very important, he said, adding it is crucial for all of us to observe and respect it. “One of the issues my office encounters after the government has accepted refugees’ ID cards for them to do their normal transactions is the fact that sometimes they had problem with banks and other institutions,” he stated.

Commissioner Jawara calls on the Central Bank and the PURA to help engage the GSM companies among others institutions so that they can understand the importance of refugees’ ID cards.

Saikou Sawo, from UNHCR dwelled on the importance of the day-long forum. He said when refugees’ ID cards are not recognised, it becomes a major concern, because refugees are normal people and they supposed to travel and have free movement in the country, pointing out that the only thing that can facilitate that is their ID cards.

Kavu Jeremie Elolo, a refugee from DR. Congo lamented on the constrains they are being faced with in The Gambia. He said one of the issues they encounter in The Gambia is dealing with banks particularly when collecting or withdrawing monies. He said it is difficult to open an account or to receive money, saying that they are also discriminated in some hospitals.

Author: Momodou Jawo