By: Kebba AF Touray
Mr. Famara Fadera, Commissioner of the Gambia Commission for Refugees (GCR), has told the legislative committee on Refugees that the Gambia currently has a total of 4425 recognised refugees.
Mr. Fadera made this disclosure yesterday, Thursday, 13 January, 2022 during the visit of the aforesaid committee to the Commission.
“Total of asylum seekers stands at 211 asylum seekers. Of the number, 86 are females, whilst 126 are males. Of the 4425 recognized refugees, 2367 are females and 2269 are males,” Commissioner Fadera informed the committee.
Commissioner Fadera, who doubles as the Assistant Commissioner of The Gambia Immigration, also told the lawmakers that the commission has issued a total of 94 birth certificates to 90 refugees, which comprises 58 males and 36 females.
He also explained to the committee that the commission has embarked on series of activities, such as sensitisation campaign, with objective of promoting peaceful co-existence with local government authorities, for the inclusion of refugees in their development plans and other relevant decision making structures.
The commission he further said, has also conducted monitoring in eight selected refugee settlement, a day long training for 40 border officials for the identification and referral of asylum seekers on two separate occasions.
“These activities aimed at ensuring that the asylum seekers access the tertiary and respect the principle of non refoulment, non-discrimination and non-penalization for illegal entry. It also aimed to increase the awareness on the rights and obligations, procedures and processes of naturalization for refugees opting for local integration,” he said.
He averred that the commission in collaboration with the National Agency for Legal Aid (NALA) sensitised refugees on their rights, to access to legal services and local integration procedures and processes of naturalization of refugees.
“It also aimed to reduce refugee children being risk of statelessness and to access the United Nation High Commission for Refugees funded projects, level of implementation and the impact, and to promote peaceful coexistence,” he stated.
He also highlighted the development of the national action plan on statelessness, participation in the drafting of protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (right to nationality and eradication of statelessness) and facilitation of acquisition for a refugee(name withheld), as some of the activities the commission has accomplished.
He told the lawmakers that the significant cut on their budget has greatly impacted on the execution of the activities of the commission, highlighting that the no domestication of the 1954 and 1961 UN Conventions within the Gambian nationality laws, as some of the primary challenges confronting the commission.
While hailing the committee for the visit, he appealed to them to ensure the domestication of the 1954 and 1961 UN Convention in the laws of the Gambia.
Photo: Group Picture(GCR and Committee members)
Ousman Sillah, the Member for Banjul North, who is also the Chairperson of the said legislative committee, told the officials of the Gambia Commission for Refugees that the oversight is a constitutional mandate of the committee.
“It aims to go to the line institutions to ascertain their level of the execution of operations, identify challenges affecting them and collectively develop and proffer mechanisms to provide remedies to the challenges affecting the line institutions,” he told Officials of GCR.