By Kebba AF Touray
The European Union Trust Fund and The International Organization for Migration (EUTF-IOM), on the 3rd November 2017,
signed an agreement to implement the “EU Trust Fund-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Project and Reintegration.”
The project is a three year initiative worth 3.9 million Euros(approximately D214,500,000GMD), with three primary objectives: to support 1,500 migrants returning to The Gambia to integrate into their communities of origin; to contribute to strengthening Government’s capacity to provide sustainable reintegration support, including specialized assistance for vulnerable migrants and to raise awareness of 250 communities and potential 2,500 migrants, on safe migration options and alternatives to irregular migration, and to support national and local authorities and development partners in having access to data on migration factors, flows and trends to support evidence based policy development and programs.
In her statements, the IOM Chief of Mission Ms. Fumiko Nagano, said the initiative is part of a large 14 country regional program in West and Central Africa as well as Libya and is designed to contribute to strengthening migration Governance and to the sustainable reintegration of returning migrants in The Gambia.
“Irregular migration especially by the youth, poses significant challenges due to which this EUTF-IOM Joint initiative aims to address, to ensure that migrant’s rights are respected, returning migrants are able to contribute positively to their communities and the migration process becomes safer and better managed. At the core of the initiative’s aim is to respond to migrant’s needs”, she said.
She highlighted that the initiative responds to migrant needs along the Central Mediterranean Route, supports better migration governance and strives to implement a new approach to sustainable reintegration; that these are the key aspects of the project.
“In line with these approaches, the IOM is working closely with the Gambia Government, in particular the ministry of Interior as the lead Ministry on migration governance and management in the country, to ensure an inclusive approach involving key stakeholders”, she stressed.
She looks forward to working with the Ministry of Interior and the relevant stakeholders working on migration management in the Gambia.
“Together, we hope to contribute to the building of the new Gambia, where Gambians in the very near future will be opting to migrate via regular means as a matter of choice, rather than necessity”, she concludes.
Mr. Attila Lajos, the EU Ambassador to The Gambia, said the initiative is funded by the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, which was launched at the Valetta Summit for Migration in November 2015.
He explained that last year, “there were 5143 dead or missing migrants in the Mediterranean. “
“We have all heard about the difficulties encountered by African migrants stuck in Libya, with sad stories of kidnapping, slavery, torture and sexual violence. None of us can remain insensitive to such human suffering”, he disclosed.
He further stated that the European Union and the International Organization for Migration developed the joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration in Africa to address these challenges; that it is being implemented in 14 countries and in the case of The Gambia, it has been allocated 3.9 million Euros, for a total duration of three (3) years. He commended the government of The Gambia, particularly the Ministry of Interior, IOM and all the stakeholders for their continuous assistance and collaboration.
The event was chaired by the Interior Minister, Mai Fatty.