More than 400 Gambian youths deported between 2017 to 2022

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The Preparation for the Upcoming National Youth Conference and Festival (NAYCONF)

Theme: The Role of Young People in the Maintenance of Peace and Security for Socio-economic Development of the Country, Challenges and Opportunities.

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Dear honourable Minister of Youth and Sports Bakary Badjie and the honourable Executive Director of National Youth Council Alhagie Jarju, with this interesting theme above, are your honourable offices informed that more than 400 Gambian youths were deported from 2017 to 2022?

My dear leaders and comrades in youth development, are you aware that 90% of these forcefully returned deportees are not supported or given any reintegration support for the past years? This is the biggest weakness, backwardness and security threat to our families, societies or communities and as a country.

My able honourable youth leaders, you would agree with me that return migration is not always a process of simply GOING HOME. Particularly when return is not fully voluntary, returnees face severe obstacles. Return can only become sustainable when returnees are provided with possibilities to become re-embedded in terms of economic, social network, and psychosocial dimensions.

Comrades and youth leaders, I hope this upcoming NAYCONF would cater for these returnees, and they would be informed of what the Government of The Gambia and stakeholders have for them in terms of sustainable reintegration in their various communities.

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I will conclude by saying capacity building for stakeholders is enough, let’s seriously focus on building the capacity of youth especially returnees from the Diaspora.

Yahya Sonko
A concerned migration youth advocate and speaker for Gambians at the Refugee Council of Baden-Württemberg.

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