World Refugee Day 2018 observed in Gambia

Friday, June 22, 2018

The Gambia Commission for Refugees (GCR) in collaboration with United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Gambia Food and Nutrition Agency (GAFNA) on Wednesday 20th June observed World Refugee Day, commencing with a match past from Trafficlight to the Independence Stadium at the Friendship Hostel Ground.

The theme of this year’s celebration was: “Cities the World Over Stand Together #WithRefugees”.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Ebrima Mballow, the minister of the Interior said that the gathering recognises those communities and countries who welcomed the refugees in their mist as well as welcoming them in their schools, work places and social lives.

“The Gambia will continue to work with UNHCR and other UN agencies to increase their support to refugees living in The Gambia,” he assured.

Mballow advised the refugee communities to be grateful to The Gambia and to be law abiding and restrict from all sort of violence in the country and see the country as their own.

Talib Ahmed Bensouda, the mayor of KMC said every year millions of people around the world are on the move in search of better life, some leave home for job opportunities while others leave home in other to pursue their dreams.

 “Refugees are the people who take their role against their will; chased out from their villages and towns by conflict or persecution and others move in search of safety,” he said.

He added that protecting refugees is part of the Gambia’s history and as a nation they will continue to welcome refugees and further alleviate their sufferings.

He assured that his municipality will continue to work with the Ministry of Interior and GCR and UNHCR to make sure that refugees’ welfare are prioritised.

Yusupha J. Gomez, executive sectary of GAFNA said refugees are faced with enormous challenges ranging from livelihood, health and social protection.

“It is against this backdrop that GAFNA as a national development NGO has built partnership with UNHCR to provide humanitarian assistance to refugees in order to reduce their vulnerability and improve their socio-economic status as they continue to live in The Gambia,” he said.

He further stated that the commemoration of the WRD demonstrates the strong bond of partnership and support that exist between UNHCR and other development partners in the drive to making refugees here feel at home since their arrival in The Gambia.   

For his part, Ensa Jawara, from Gambia Commission of Refugees said: “The celebration of the World Refugee Day requires a reflection on some of the tragedies that make refugees vulnerable to exploitation, abuse and violence.”

 He assured that they will continue to advocate with relevant stakeholders and fully engage in dialogue with the government in an effort to improve the task of refugee management in The Gambia.

On behalf of the refugees, Marthew Moreba thanked the government and the people of the Gambia for the love, care, protection and opening a conducive atmosphere for them.

He further pleaded for the government and NGO’s to help them with quality education and health for the children and as well as housing since the cost for rent is increasing drastically in the Kombos. 

Author: Fatou B. Cham