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‘Migrant Deaths Not Just Statistics…’ Civil Society Leader Interrogates Subject

By Sanna Camara

The National General Secretary of The Gambia YMCA has interrogatedthe cases of migrations, especially in its regular form, resulting to deaths at uigh seas and deserts, warning the deaths Just reoreent Statistics but they are in fact, human lives I pursuit of dreams.

Mr John Charles Njie, who represented the Ciio Aociety at the national dilgur on Migration hosted by the government said he does not claim to have answers to alm the qiestions surrounding these migrationissues, but but equally have critical questions to ask on all reasons which he hopes the National dialogue would help to answer.

“Over the past months, I asked many people what their thoughts are about migration. I have travelled from Banjul to Basse on some Regional Youth Consultations and asked young people to articulate their thoughts, about the push and pull factors of migration. Why do our young people dare the vastness of the ocean at the detriment of their lives, to travel abroad? What is frustrating them so badly that they are willing to die rather than stay and sweat it out at home even thou we frequently claim ‘no place like home?” he explained to the dialogue that brough together diverse participants from across the country to discuss these issues and help frame a way forward for government.

He also asked the gathering to ris3 and observe a minute’s silence in honour of the young lives lost at sea and in transition in the desert, all in search of better life and opportunities. “They are not a statistic but human beings that could have been alive today,” he maintained.

To the above questions, the CSO leader he heard answers like, “It is because the lack opportunities here, the cost of living is high and standard of living is poor… unemployment and underemployment;  bad governance, corruption in high and low places, the ‘who you know’ phenomenon that recognizes the select few, societal pressure on the youth…’

“But amazingly, all these reasons beg the following questions, many more youth lack opportunities, are unemployed or underemployed but they are still sweating it here and refusing to take the perilous Journey. Why?” he asked.

He further asked: “What do we say about deportations? The sufferings encountered by our youth, the inhumane treatment meted out by foreign countries, the erosion of their dignity when they return home empty handed, dashing the hopes of their loved ones that sacrificed the family wealth so they could tekki and support other family members; the trauma faced, mental health issues experienced, the lack of adequate facilities for returnees to reintegrate, the stigmatization from society…”

To Mr Njie, these are many unanswered questions that he hoped the national dialogue would address.

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