RETURNEES REQUIRE SOLIDARITY

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An unquantifiable number of Gambians previously resident in EU member countries are being returned. They are making many claims of injustice perpetrated against them.

All countries in the world are expected by international law, especially the human rights convention, to eschew violations of rights and protect all human beings from discrimination and injustice. The Gambia and the EU countries are part of the EU-OACPS community of states. They engage in political dialogue to vent out all the wrong doings perpetrated in any member country of the community.

It is therefore important for human rights NGOs in The Gambia to rise up to defend the rights of these returnees. They should interview and keep a dossier of each returnee, collaborate with the NGOs of any of the countries alleged to be violating their human rights in order to conduct appropriate investigations and write accurate reports for submission to The Gambia Government to take up the matter with their EU partners.

Furthermore, the NGOs should seek audience with the human rights council to deliver their report whenever the human rights records of those countries are under review by the human rights council. African NGOs should develop the skills to protect their sovereign citizens.

Protests are not enough. Exposures in newspapers are not enough. All avenues available to defend human rights should be exploited and we hope that returnees with legitimate concerns will never relentless and resilient in having their cases mentioned before the relevant EU and UN bodies for action and protection. Human rights lawyers should also join in defending human rights. Human rights defenders must combat impunity at home and abroad. Defending human rights has no frontiers.