Documents reveal Gambia signs Switzerland deportation agreement

Jan 15, 2021, 9:47 AM | Article By: Yusupha Jobe

“The operational cooperation with The Gambia over returning citizens generally works well. The agreement covers issues relating to the practical organisations of returnees, such as identifications and the issuing of replacement documents,” Switzerland authorities write on their website as Gambia signed migration and civil aviation agreements.

The Gambia government on Tuesday 12 January 2021 signed landmark migration agreement with Switzerland to allow deportation of her citizens following recent returning of Gambian migrants from Germany.

President Adama Barrow’s government over the years witnessed an unprecedented number of mass deportations of her citizens from European countries with a huge number of those deportees from Germany.

The Gambian delegation to the Swiss capital Berne, headed by the Vice President Dr. Isatou Touray signed two cooperation agreements on civil aviation and on migration with Swiss government representatives, Federal Councillor Ignazor Cassis, as vice President of the Federal Council and Federal Councilor Karin Keller-Sutter.

The Swiss authorities in a statement written on their website states: “The agreement on migration allows Switzerland and The Gambia to strengthen their respective efforts in fighting illegal migration.”

“Ms Keller-Sutter and Gambian Vice President Isatou Touray and her delegation discussed migration issues and the way in which the two countries can strengthen their cooperation.”

“As approved by the Federal Council on 7 October 2020, the agreement signed at this occasion opens up new opportunities for cooperation between Switzerland and the Republic of The Gambia in the field of migration.”

“Many Gambians citizens are leaving their country for other countries in the region, Europe or the United Sates. Gambian nationals accounts for a significant proportion of migrants crossing the Mediterranean each year to reach the Italian or Spanish coast.”

“After a peak in 2016, the number of asylum applications from Gambian nationals in Switzerland has since fallen sharply.”

“Face with these challenges, the state secretariat for migration (SEM) intends to continue to support the Gambian authorities in handling migration, not least by helping but implement projects locally.”

“The operational cooperation with the Gambia over returning citizens generally works well. The agreement covers issues relating to the practical organisations of returnees, such as identifications and the issuing of replacement documents.”

The Point, in a view to ascertain the report, contacted the spokesperson of the Gambia Refugee Association, Europe Branch, Yaya Sonko, who confirmed the development, stating the signing agreement took place on Tuesday between Gambian authorities and Swiss government.

“This is true and I can confirm to you that all media out lets in Swiss have covered the ceremony in which a statement of the agreement was published on their website.”

“Right now I am now trying to establish contacts with rights group organisations here in Europe to find ways of making sure unlawful deportations of our citizens do not happen again as in the case of Germany.

“Look, I am totally shocked by the news because nothing is kept secret here in Europe. How can our government be no caring to its own citizens? Gambian migrants are very unsafe in Europe right now,’ he warned.

The Point’s efforts to contact Foreign Affairs Ministry for comments proved futile.

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