Thursday, September 25, 2014

A Note to Prime Minister Joseph Muscat of Malta

Prime Minister Muscat of Malta

Dear Mr. Prime Minister,

We are writing on behalf of the 80 Gambian migrants your government is planning to repatriate to The Gambia where they will meet an uncertain future.

We understand and appreciate the economic and social arguments advanced by some European countries, particularly countries like Malta, that are in the front lines of this human wave fleeing their badly-managed countries for a variety of reasons, some of which may be purely for economic reasons.

But Mr. Prime Minister, not all migrants are economic migrants.  Even if all were of this category, an argument can still be made for them to be granted a protected status against dictators who do not only violate human rights but they violate the economic rights of their respective citizenry to live a life in dignity.

How can they live in dignity when most of them, including the 80 Gambians, of course, live on less than a dollar-a-day, when regimes like the one in Banjul, has dominated every sector of the economy, stifling economic growth and development.

The government of Yaya Jammeh has failed to provide the necessary economic and political environment for both the young and old to stay in that God-forsaken land that once held the promise of advancing democracy and the rule of law.

The exemplary record of Gambia's record on human rights has been so turned on its head that it has become an embarrassment to the African Union to still maintains its African Commission on Human and peoples Rights in Banjul.

Amnesty International and similar international and regional Rights organizations have all graded Gambia's record poorly because of the regimes frequent use of assassinations, torture, imprisonment, disappearances and other inhumane treatment of both its real and imagined opponents.

Given the above, repatriating these young men to The Gambia means that some (maybe not all) will meet their certain deaths for being framed as opposition sympathizers.  Others will languish in jail for 'tarnishing the image of the regime' by voting with their feet.

We hope our concerns will cause your government to pause and change course.  We urge you, therefore, to nullify the agreement as soon as it is feasible and allow the 80 Gambians to stay in Malta or find a third country willing to take them in on humanitarian grounds.


Sidi Sanneh
for: sidisanneh,