Gambia says it will not accept deported citizens who have not gone through an impartial judicial process before being returned but will accept those that have being convicted of committing a crime.
Officials in the West African nation denied partnering with the EU to repatriate about 140 of its citizens. The IOM says the 140 is the first batch of some 460 Gambians that have registered to voluntarily return.
“For the Gambians who have committed crimes in foreign countries [in prisons or have served their terms] and are supposed to be returning home, it is the judicial process that will be sending them home and not the Gambia government,” Homeland Security Minister Mai Ahmad Fatty said.
Gambia says it will not intervene if its citizens commit a crime or violate immigration laws of other countries but if they have evidence that such a case hasn’t undergone an impartial judicial process, it will use our diplomatic services in favor of such Gambians.
Last year, the United States restricted Gambian government officials and their families from entering their country after the West African nation’s government refused to accept nearly 2,000 deportees from its Department of Homeland Security.
Gambia has since had a new government after former autocratic ruler Yahya Jammeh lost the elections and forced to flee the country. West African troops were deployed to oust the longstanding ruler, who is now in Equatorial Guinea.
Tens of thousands of Gambians have been denied asylum in Europe. Most of them are considered economic migrants that reached Europe by perilously crossing the Mediterranean.
At least 13,000 Gambians, almost half of the population of country’s capital Banjul, between the ages of 14 to 34 have sought asylum in Europe in 2016, EU data has shown.
The European Union has given the Gambia’s new government led by Adama Barrow some US$25 million to help create job opportunities for youths to stop them from migrating to Europe.