Government says migration agreement is to protect rights of Gambians in Switzerland

EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, THE GAMBIA:- The government of The Gambia has on Wednesday issued a statement saying the recent migration agreement signed with Switzerland is meant to curb irregular migration and ensure effective protection of the rights of Gambians who are migrants in Switzerland.

It could be recalled that Eye Africa TV on 14th January published a story on the migration agreement signed between the two countries.

Swiss officials say as part of the agreement, The Gambia will help them in the practical organisation of returnees, such as identification and the issuing of replacement documents. This has angered many Gambians at home and abroad calling on the government to tell the side of their story.

The government in return released the statement below:

The Government of the Republic of The Gambia wishes to inform the general public that it has on Tuesday 12th January 2021 signed a Cooperation Agreement on migration matters with the Government of Switzerland in the city of Berne. The signed Cooperation Agreement is meant to curb irregular migration and ensure effective protection of the rights of Gambian citizens who are migrants in Switzerland.

The Agreement will create cordial working relations between the Government of The Gambia and the Government of Switzerland in identifying opportunities, coordinating and managing challenges of migration. These, the two countries believe will further strengthen relations and deepen cooperation with regards to the effective management of migration, dealing with unemployment and creation of more opportunities for women and youth in The Gambia.

The Government of The Gambia further negotiated for all undocumented Gambian migrants in Switzerland to be trained on livelihood skills and be integrated in Swiss community.

As The Gambia progresses in enhancing her democracy, there is need to ensure that the country adheres to international Human Rights Instruments by respecting the laws of other countries whilst also ensuring that Gambian citizens within and outside enjoy the required protection of the Government. In this regard, the Government of The Gambia and the Government of Switzerland agreed that all legal remedies will be exhausted before any voluntary returnees will be repatriated.

The Government of The Gambia further assures all Gambians that it is approaching migration as a developmental issue and that the signed Cooperation Agreement will also paved the way for the establishment of a multi-purpose skills training centre and create other opportunities for young people to achieve their goals in The Gambia. Both countries agreed on the spelt out modalities which serve as an enabling tool to ensure equitable and balanced intervention with a view to attaining dignified life for Gambians in Switzerland and Swiss citizens in The Gambia.

Further, as part of efforts to further strengthen the excellent bilateral relations that exist between the two countries and on the invitation of the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Mamadou Tangara, the Vice President and Federal Councillor of Switzerland, Ignazio Cassis, is expected to visit The Gambia on Friday 12th February 2021.

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