A total of 50 Gambian migrants are scheduled for deportation from the Federal Territory of Germany this month, with more deportations planned for the remainder of 2023, migration and human rights activist Yaya Sonko has revealed.
According to Voice Gambia News, during the seven months of this year, 140 Gambian migrants have already left Germany by force.
In addition, Yaya Sonko also reported that 650 Gambian nationals were forcibly repatriated from Germany between 2017 and 2022. He further said that another 200 Gambian migrants are scheduled to be forced out of Germany within the next four months.
He claims that last year, there were a total of 1,371 cases of forced returns from Germany to various African countries, where Gambia accounted for 154 of these deportations.
At the same time, Sonko said that with nearly 350 forced returns planned to The Gambia from Germany alone, the smallest African nation, which also happens to be a fledgling democracy, will stand out as Germany’s most cooperative partner in terms of eviction efforts.
According to activist Sonko, the European Union’s perception of the Gambian government’s stance on deportations is influenced by the EU’s strict visa sanctions regime targeting countries deemed uncooperative in repatriating their citizens.
In November last year, the EU Commission approved proposals for implementing visa measures aimed at Gambian passport holders. These measures were created to force the country to increase its cooperation in the repatriation of Gambian citizens currently residing illegally in various EU countries.
“At the end of June 2022, there were 5,100 Gambians in the federal state of Baden-Württemberg with no right to stay. This is not a good situation for Gambians in Germany, their relatives in The Gambia, and the government in Banjul,” Sonko noted.
Moreover, during the first seven months of this year, Germany received 316 new asylum requests from Gambian citizens, which marks an increase in asylum requests compared to the previous year.
As a result, an average of 45 Gambians per month applied for asylum in Germany in 2023, which marked an increase from 38 applicants per month in 2021. On the other hand, the average number of monthly asylum requests by Gambians in 2022 was 28.
If this trend continues throughout the year, it could result in 540 new asylum applications from Gambians in Germany for 2023, exceeding the number of 340 deportations planned.
In September 2022, Gambian citizens expressed concerns about significant delays in processing Schengen visas, especially when applying for a German passport. These delays had become a source of frustration and concern for Gambian applicants seeking to travel to Germany and other Schengen countries.
In this regard, Gambian applicants who had already submitted their applications for a German Schengen visa reported having to wait at least 45 days for their documents to be processed.