By Awa B. Bah

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Gambians Abroad, Mr. Ousainou Darboe, has told deputies that Government is fully aware of the scale of Gambian immigrants returning home especially from Libya, as emerging statistics of returning migrants through the International Organization for Migration, indicate that from March to 7th December 2017, a total of one thousand, six hundred and fifty seven returnees were registered.

Darboe gave this response to the question raised by deputies at the National Assembly (NA), on the status of Gambian migrants returning home.

According to Darboe, a large number of Gambians have returned home from their irregular migration and the number is on the increase. Fatoumata K. Jawara, the Member for Tallinding Constituency asked the Minister about the plans available to engage these young returnees into meaning development initiatives for them to reintegrate into society.

In his response, Mr. Darboe said Government has made the tackling of irregular migrants a top priority of its administration and has engaged various partners to deal with the emerging challenges and the re-integration process.

‘‘During the recent African Union- European Union summit held in Ivory Coast, it was agreed that three thousand eight hundred African migrants will be airlifted and this number will be from forty detention centers inside Libya. As a result, Government is expecting more returnees and will take the necessary steps towards their re-integration,’’ he told deputies.

At the summit, he said a task force was launched to coordinate with the recognized Libyan authorities, the main goal of dismantling irregular migration and the trafficking of human beings and other criminal networks; that it will seek to help countries of origin of the migrants and their transit points, to tackle the root cause of migration.

Dardoe said his Ministry, being the primary institution responsible for the welfare of Gambians abroad, is re-engaging relevant international organizations and friendly countries, in not only reversing the situation but also ensuring that the welfare of Gambians wherever they are, is adequately addressed.

He said Government, the European Union and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), have recently launched a joint initiative for migrant protection and reintegration; that the three year project amounting to 3.9 million euro, is funded by the European Union Emergency Trust Fund (EUETF), signed on the 3rd of November 2017; that his Ministry is working closely with other Ministries concerned, to lead on migration, governance, implementation and management in the country.

See the next edition for the full coverage of the supplementary questions and answers from the Minister relating to the pertinent questions posed to him by deputies.

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