Many thanks to Hellequin GB for translating this article from the Austrian tabloid Exxpress:
“Cannot be integrated”: Gambia refuses to take back migrants
The government of the West African mini-state Gambia is not even considering taking back its own citizens in the course of repatriations — the argument: this would lead to “social unrest”.
Although 6,000 of the 15,000 Gambians who are currently in Germany have long been required to leave the country due to a negative asylum decision, the deportations cannot be carried out. The reason: The Gambian government under President Barrow has not issued a landing permit for deportation pilots from Germany or other EU countries since 2019. The reason: The returnees are “unintegrable”; they would only bring turmoil and unrest to the small West African country.
When thousands of Gambians return, “social unrest” can be expected: “We are trying to consolidate peace, stability and democracy in our country,” said a spokesman for the Gambian government.
Criminals sending money home
In African countries, as in Europe, migration is a policy. Barrow, the incumbent President of the Gambia, has repeatedly announced through spokesmen and the media that he is not interested in taking back Gambian emigrants. The reason: Large parts of the three million Gambian citizens do not want to see the young men back in their country. It seems that the departure of many young men for Germany is seen as a discharge of crime and violence from their home country.
The argument of crime is not enough, however, because: The money sent from Germany makes a significant contribution to the gross domestic product — more than a fifth, exactly 21 percent, comes from the diaspora. Anyone who is deported to Gambia no longer receives any social benefits from Europe. “Many livelihoods depend on money transfers from Europe,” said an activist from an aid organization, Julian Staiger.
Social ostracism for returnees
As Die Welt reports, for example, a 25-year-old Gambian who returned voluntarily was excluded from his family and ostracized. He had saved some money through German welfare and benefits and was fulfilling his dream of having his own farm in his home country. But this displeased his wife, and she left him. “She still thinks that I was deported from Germany and came back empty-handed,” complained the Gambian.
Landing bans could have precedent effect
The fear among German and Austrian authorities that these landing bans could also become a growing trend in other African countries. It remains to be seen whether these deportation stops have a precedent effect. 85 percent of the Gambians who applied for asylum in Germany last year received a negative decision. But nobody has been deported since 2019.