Migration activist hints imminent deportation of Gambians from Germany

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By Biran Gaye

A migration and human rights activist based in Germany has said several Gambians are set to be deported this week, following a repatriation of a dozen Gambian migrants in March 2024.

Yahya Sonko, who has been at the forefront of efforts to assist the detained individuals, said the migrants have been incarcerated in preparation of their imminent deportation to the Gambia.

“……………. it has come to our attention that numerous Gambians residing in Germany have been detained in preparation for a chartered deportation flight scheduled for 28 May 2024,” he said in a press release.

Activist Sonko and a group of lawyers are challenging several of these deportations through ongoing legal processes. 

He stressed the urgency to act, stating, “This situation is of significant concern, and we are taking all legally permissible steps to assist those affected.”

Committing to exhaust all legal avenues to protect the rights and dignity ofmigrants at Pforzheim deportation detention prison, the release calls on the Gambian community, activists, and supporters of human rights to provide them with legal assistance and support as soon as possible to ensure their rights are protected and to explore all possible options to halt their deportation.

Theactivist alleges that the European Union has not approved its member state’s decision to deport these migrants facing uncertain futures in detention.

In March 2024, the EU reduced its visa application for Gambians and waived other fees due to the West African country’s cooperation with the European bloc, says a press release, without revealing many details about Gambia’s compliance.

Foroyaa has asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Gambians Abroad about what entails the country’s cooperation with the EU but has not received any comment on the subject matter.

In 2021, the Gambia government refused to repatriate its nationals residing in Europe, culminating in sanctions by the EU for non-compliance, which propelled the government to change its position on the subject. Since then, there has been intermittent deportation of Gambian nationals from European countries, particularly Germany.  

In an interview with The Alkamba Times, Saihou Kanteh, a Gambian from Basse Dampha Kunda in the Upper River Region (URR)who was deported on Wednesday, March 13, 2024, alleges that he was maltreated by over six German police officers who bundled him to the ground and gagged his mouth with a metal ring before being deported to Banjul.

He said he was deported with more than sixteen other Gambian migrants.