The Gambia has pledged to be a safe haven for refugees fleeing to the West African state from other troubled nations and urged them to become citizens.
““In The Gambia, refugees will be cherished, loved and respected. You will find compassion and a government policy that will make it easier for you to settle,” said Homeland Security Minister, Mai Ahmad Fatty.
“There is no discrimination here. You can be who want to be. The opportunities are available in the New Gambia. If you are willing to work hard for it, you can be successful here.”
Gambia is home nearly 10,000 refugees, a majority of them from the southern Senegalese region of Casamance.
A low-level conflict for independence has sent thousands of Senegalese citizens fleeing to Gambia for nearly three decades.
The Gambia is also home to many Sierra Leoneans, Liberians and Congolese, who have fled their homes during the wars that ravaged the African nations in the 90s.
The world is facing its biggest humanitarian crisis with countries like the U.S. shutting it doors to refugees and threatening to pull out funding for the United Nations.
Gambia’s former government had offered to resettle Rohingya refugees fleeing persecution in Myanmar. Although it did not materialize, it was seen as a sign of the West African nation’s humanitarian gesture to welcome those in need.
At least 75,000 Gambians temporarily became refugees during the two months of political turmoil that followed ex-autocratic ruler, Yahya Jammeh’s defeat in the polls.
More than 150,000 were internally displaced and the UN Refugee Agency supplied more tons of food and sanitary items in the northern border with Senegal.