Ousman Sillah, the National Assembly Member (NAM) for Banjul North, calls on the Government of The Gambia to engage European Governments to put an end to the mistreatment of young Gambian migrants, in search of better lives in their countries.
The Banjul North Lawmaker said this while addressing Gambians at the Hammonia SV Vereinshaus Club house in the German city of Hamburg on Friday November 9th.
Sillah who is currently touring seven European countries to meet with Gambians and friends of the Gambia, arrived Germany on Thursday morning. He was received at Hamburg airport by Alagie Jobe and Arona Badjie.
Addressing his audience, Sillah said the footage of a young man shoved on the ground by two German police and tied with a rope, is inhuman, degrading and a violation of his rights; that the young man who was groaning, was tied like a sheep ready for slaughter. He said this is unacceptable and Government should do something to ensure that Gambians are treated well anywhere they are in the world. Sillah told the gathering about the meetings he had with Gambians and other people and organisations during his visit to Italy and Austria, and the shocking encounter with Gambian migrants he found hanging out in the open, during the winter season, at the central train station in Milan.
Reiterating his call for European governments to accept and provide support to young Gambia migrants, Sillah said there should be a moratorium or halt in any current operation of forced repatriation of these young people, who had to risk their lives and spend so much, in order to each the shores of Europe.
The Banjul North Lawmaker said he has spoken to a well-placed German national who informed him that their country is currently experiencing a shrinking population because they are registering more deaths than births; that this person argued that based on this demographic reality, Germany therefore needs migrants to come and work in their country.
Sillah said migration is a normal phenomenon of human beings since time immemorial but that the scale in which young people leave the country for opportunities, is alarming; that it is therefore the duty of Government to invest in young people so that they would not be leaving the country en masse for opportunities elsewhere.
On the issue of development in Africa, the Banjul North NAM asked whether African leaders including those in the Gambia, travel to that part of the world to see how those countries are organised in terms of efficient, effective and reliable systems, services, infrastructure, etc., and if those leaders would not wish their countries to have such systems, services, infrastructure etc., to be in place in their own countries.
Sillah said the task of the new transitional political dispensation in the Gambia, should have mobilised Gambians from all works of live to share ideas and experiences and develop a trajectory for development that will give the country a good start after the transition, in terms of empowerment of the people and development.
He stressed the importance of Gambians in the diaspora, who contribute more than 20% of GDP through remittances; that this is a source of sustaining many families back home. He talked about an investment fund which could have been created through the diaspora to support the development process.
Sillah earlier spoke about the purpose of the visit which he said, is part of his statutory responsibilities as a representative of the people. He told the Gambians he met that he was there to hear their concerns and views on wide ranging issues affecting them both in Europe and back home in The Gambia.
He told them about his initiatives at the Constituency level such as the scholarship fund which is directly supported by salary.
Following his presentation, Sillah responded to the questions and comments from those in attendance, which centred on issues regarding the extension of the franchise for Gambians in the diaspora to be able to vote; the maltreatment of migrants; the Coalition 2016 agreement; the fate of the assets and properties of the former president; the voter registration system; travels and per diems of civil servants; the wastage of national resources; the use of national languages in the National Assembly and the recruitment of Gambians to work in Saudi Arabia.
The meeting was Chaired by Alagie Jobe who was later replaced by Cherno Gaye, both residents of Hamburg.
Sillah is scheduled for two other meetings with Gambian nationals in Bremen and Hannover, on Saturday November 10th 2018.
He departs Hamburg for Antwerp in Belgium on Sunday November 11th 2018.