A two day validation workshop on Gambia's migration policy is underway at a local hotel in Senegambia.
The policy, which aims to provide a national framework for migration management, provide guidance for the revision of national legislation on migration, to effectively address the current migration challenges and compliance with the global norms on migration management, ECOWAS protocols, as well as AU and ECOWAS approach to migration.
In his welcome remarks, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Interior, Mr. Bully M Dibba, said migration is far from being a new phenomenon, as women and men have been leaving their homelands in search of better life elsewhere. "It has become imperative for the country to be more proactive in developing programs to harness the benefits of organized migration, for national development in line with the Transformation Agenda of President Barrow," he noted.
PS Dibba continued to say that migration is emerging as one of the most social and economic issues of the decade and this articulates the state's commitment to ensuring a migration process that adheres to the principles of good governance, rights and responsibilities as enshrined in international instruments, to advance opportunities for all men and women to engage in labour migration for decent and productive employment, in conditions of freedom, dignity, security and equality.
"This policy marks an important milestone in the development of a holistic and strategic policy migration for the country and will be a blue print for engaging government and key stakeholders on migration and related issues that affect Gambians in the interest of the Government and the people of the Gambia", said, Madam Fumiko Nagano, head of International Organization for Migration.
She stressed that as migration is a cross cutting issue, the development of a comprehensive and holistic system that protects the rights of migrants and ensures that migration is both safe and beneficial for the migrants and the country, would require a holistic government approach.
"In August 2017, IOM Gambia in close coordination with the Ministry of Interior, held a validation workshop on the country's first Migration Profile in the country and signed the international Convention on the protection of rights of All Migrant Workers and members of their families at the 72nd United Nations General Assembly," she stated. These two events, she went on to say, is a testimony of the Gambia Government's commitment to ensure that the rights and dignity of migrants are fully respected in line with international standards.
Moving toward her conclusion, Madam Fumiko Nagano expressed appreciation and gratitude to the Ministry of Interior, EU Delegation and EU funded regional project (Free Movement of Persons and Migration in West Africa), for the successful holding of the validation and assured them of her Organization's support and commitment on the future implementation and operationalization of the National Migration Policy.
In his official opening address, the Minister of Interior, Mai Amat Fatty, said a well-managed migration and mobility within and between countries and continents can contribute positively to the economic development in both sending and receiving countries and regions and is ideal for the building blocks of the African Union's own internal market.
"Migrants can transfer skills and remittances to their homes, boost local labour supply and fill skill gaps where they are employed" and all these he went on, "require sound legal frameworks and policies for the protection and empowerment of migrants and their families and for enhancing the developmental impact of migrants," he posited.
Interior Minister Fatty reminded the august gathering that the policy should be anchored on the ideals of African solidarity as well as shared values as informed by other existing African Union frameworks, such as the AU Migration Policy Framework for Africa, among others.
In conclusion, he congratulated all those who contributed in drafting the policy and implored on the experts to critically review the draft policy and deliberate on it with the ultimate objective of considering the benefits of the entire Gambian populace.