By Yusef Taylor, @FlexDan_YT
This transcript is a speech delivered by the Minister for Foreign Affairs Hon Mamadou Tangara on 5th September 2023 after he withdrew two treaties which he had tabled in Parliament for ratification. Hon Tangara started his speech by highlighting that he only sent the Swiss-Gambia Migration agreement to Parliament in response to a request, however, GPN obtained and published the Foreign Affairs Minister’s speech for the tabling of the Swiss-Gambia Migration Agreement proving otherwise. Below is a link to the previous publication and a download link.
In this latest expose, our reporter has obtained a copy of the Good Practice Document between the Government of The Gambia and the European Union. According to Minister Tangara, the document was first agreed upon in 2018, which would come under the tenure of Ousainou Darboe and culminated with the Operational Conclusions Document after which the agreement came into effect in 2019. Below is a link to download the Good Practice “EU-Gambia Migration” Document and the speech delivered by the Foreign Affairs Minister in Parliament.
Foreign Affairs Minister Hon Mamadou Tangara’s Speech
Parliamentary Approval for “EU-Gambia Migration MoU” Not Required
“The Good Practice Document is a standard operating procedure for managing the return of Gambians who have exhausted their rights to stay within the European Union. It is a readmission arrangement or memorandum of understanding on the modalities of return which was not signed by either parties and it is not an International Agreement that would require the National Assembly’s ratification.”
“It was agreed by both parties in 2018 as a memorandum of understanding and its implementation started in 2019 with the development of operational conclusion on return modalities. The operational conclusions reflect the outcome of the MoU with a view to ensuring a proper implementation of the Good Practices on Returns between the Gambia and the European Union. The Operational Conclusions operationalise the Good Practice Document.”
Purpose of Good Practice Document and Operational Conclusion
“The purpose of the Good Practice Document and its Operational Conclusion is to ensure that the readmission of our nationals follows due process including exhausting their rights and legal remedies to stay, their dignified return, our reception capacity and their reintegration.”
“As a government, we have developed a coherent policy in managing irregular migration as enshrined in the National Migration Policy 2020 to 2030. Consequently, it is the government’s responsibility to discourage the youth folk from embarking on such perilous journey to Europe. However, the government has not and will not arrange or facilitate the return of anyone without due process being followed.”
Migration Needs a National Nonpartisan Dialogue
“In ensuring a comprehensive and mutually beneficial partnership on Migration between the European Union and member states, The Gambia has been engaging the European Union and this engagement will continue. In a bid to consider the plight of our nationals that are currently within the European Union Jurisdiction and have been law-abiding and to consider them for integration. However, the removal or return of Gambian Nationals from any European member state is exclusively the purview and authority of that country. While under International Customary Law, the Gambia as a country of origin or any of our nationals who have exhausted all their legal remedies to stay in that country has a responsibility and obligation to react with them.”
“The Gambia has been a beacon of hope and a good example of democracy. Hence for the partners, it is our considered view that this should be the time to offer more support to The Gambia and not sanctions. Today as we speak migration continues to be an important Foreign Policy issue for the government. The Ministry is currently faced with huge challenges in the repatriation of stranded Gambian migrants and we need to engage in a national conversation about irregular migration and [how] it cost the lives of our abled youth. This is a national issue beyond partisan politics and it requires concerted efforts from the communities, families, National Assembly members, SOEs and NGOs.”
The Gambia Not Recognised for Repatriations but Blamed for Deportations
“Many tragedies affecting Gambian Migrants travelling irregularly has cost this nation enormously. An unfortunate situation is the boat carrying 39 migrants from Gunjur that went missing and until today for over a year, their whereabouts cannot be established. There are 169 migrants currently stranded in Niger awaiting our repatriation. Over 100 migrants are currently in Libyan immigration detention centres awaiting repatriation to The Gambia. How many Gambian youths are mentally ill and are in the streets of Italy and other European countries? These are a few examples to show the dangers associated with irregular migration.”
“We acknowledge the importance and how much remittances coming to this country that is sent by migrants to support their families. However, this is no excuse for taking a risk that could cost one’s life. The Government has been preoccupied again and again [with] repatriating our stranded nationals from Libya, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia and Niger. It is not fair on the government that when it repatriates 100s of its nationals overseas who are stranded, it is not recognised. But when it readmits our nationals that have exhausted their rights to stay in another country it is blamed.”
This is the second series of documents published by Gainako Online Newspaper. The first one can be accessed in the link below.