Human Rights Migration News

Activist Yahya Sonko faults EU’s approach to irregular migration, calls on African leaders to emulate President Nana Akufo-Addo

Yahya Sonko

Yahya Sonko, a migration, and human rights advocate has called on African leaders to blame the European Union (EU) for the situation of irregular migrants in Europe, instead of blaming the migrants.

Mr. Sonko, who is also serving as a Speaker at the Refugee Council of Baden-Württemberg in Germany made this remark in a statement he shared with LTN on Sunday.

According to him, reports from survivors relayed to IOM indicate that at least 252 people died during alleged forced expulsions by European authorities, also known as pushbacks, since 2021.

“Beyond a structural failure to provide adequate safe pathways, Missing Migrants Project records show that many of the deaths on migratory routes to destination countries in Europe could have been prevented by prompt and effective assistance to migrants in distress,“ he said.

The Gambian German-based migration activist called on African leaders to emulate the Ghanaian President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo who in 2018 expressed deep concerns over the cold-hearted treatment of African migrants in Europe.

“The Ghanaian President did not mince words when he criticised the inhumane and abusive treatment of African migrants in Europe. He said this when the Deputy Prime Minister of Italy, Matteo Salvini, called on him at the Presidency during his time as Italian prime minister. The Ghanaian leader had emphasized that  it was unacceptable for our African youth to be treated in that manner, simply because they were irregular immigrants in the EU. He put to Italian authorities that in the 19th Century, Europeans, including Italians, fled to the United States in their numbers due to poverty because their countries, in those days, were not considered as countries of opportunities,“ Mr. Sonko stated.

He said the phenomenon of migration in Africa is no different from the phenomenon of migration in their history, adding that the connection between migration and poverty is direct.

“Both the EU and African Governments should take irregular migration with great seriousness instead of politicising it. Irregular migration is a global problem and a global problem needs a global solution. European Union and African governments should join hands and address the root causes of irregular migration, prevent and fight against smuggling and trafficking, strengthen the protection for people fleeing their homes, improve cooperation on return and re-integration, and advance the possibilities for legal migration so that fewer Africans might try the dangerous irregular migration route,“ he remarked.

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