#Article (Archive)

Gambia has a point

Jun 9, 2015, 9:06 AM

The Gambia government has taken a right political move by calling on the International Criminal Court to investigate the death of thousands of African migrants who died at the Mediterranean sea while trying to reach Europe.

Just in the past months alone, thousands of youths from The Gambia and other African countries died at the sea while trying to enter Italy.

This is a serious concern, and we are glad that the Gambian leader has taken it as such by calling on the ICC to investigate the matter.

We hope the ICC takes this call as seriously as it deserves, and conducts meticulous investigation as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, one thing is critical, the migrants who made it safely to the Italian shores should be treated with humanity; the migrant-receiving country should continue to give migrants the assistance they may need.

Besides, it is critical for both sides, Europe and Africa, to address the criminal smuggling networks that are profiting from providing unsafe transport to ferry migrants across the Mediterranean sea to Europe.

But it is also of critical importance that we address the issues at home, in Africa, so that young people can see a brighter future for them on the continent; that they do not have to risk their lives seeking a better future abroad.

Similarly, it is important that there be an Africa-Europe summit on the immigration saga, where the root causes of the issue will be thoroughly discussed to chart a workable solution to tackle the illegal or ‘back way’ migration menace.

The initial approach by condemning the youths for risking their lives through a dangerous journey to Europe will not solve the problem.

The continued endemic economic hardship and high rate of unemployment in almost all African countries, has been the chief reason forcing many youths to look for alternatives in Europe.

Therefore, African governments should commit themselves to the process of good governance, as well as economic development through massive job creation so that people will not see the need to risk their lives seeking greener pastures.

The call for the ICC to investigate the rapid and sudden increase in the death of Africans in European seas by the Gambian leader is a right move, and we hope it will be accorded the significance it deserves and approach actions taken to address the issues by the ICC.

“Where asylum is used as a route to economic migration, it can cause deep resentment in the host community.”

David Blunkett