By Ousman A. Marong
The International Organisations for Migrants (IOM) on Friday 7 February, launched the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) for the protection and Assistance of Vulnerable Migrants in The Gambia.
Speaking at the launching ceremony held at Kairaba Beach Hotel, the IOM Chief of Mission in The Gambia Ms. Fumiko Nagno, revealed that from January 2017 to December 2019 has shown the returned of more than 5, 000 migrants mainly from Libya, Niger, Mali and North Africa respectively.
She said several returnees have been identified as vulnerables, adding that 204 cases of returnees are in health needs (incl. Psychosocial needs) 168 vulnerable female returnees, 56 identified victims of trafficking (VOTs) 33 cases of unaccompanied and separated Migrants Children (UASC) and 14 cases of returnees that are elderly (aged 60 and above).
“Today’s launching of the NRM will see IOM support from the government of The Gambia in meeting the specific needs of vulnerable migrants. These migrants comprise: Victims of Trafficking; unaccompanied and separated children; migrants with health need (incl. Mental and psychological needs); stranded migrants; elderly returnees; returnees with disabilities; parent returnees; asylum seekers and women;” Ms Fumiko Nagno said.
She stressed that the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) would bring together and strengthen multi disciplinary protection services through targeted capacity building and development of standardised guidelines for all service providers to identify and refer vulnerable returning migrants and victims of trafficking.
On his part the EU Ambassador to The Gambia, Attila Lajos has said the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) aimed to improve and institutionalise collaboration among governmental authorities, civil society organisations and international organisations to jointly protect the basic rights to meet the needs of those who are vulnerable.
He also highlighted that IOM is closely working with the National Agency Against Trafficking in Person (NAATIP) to curb out trafficking in person. She warned there be prosecution for those engaging the practice.
“Vulnerable migrants often require significant assistance to cope with and recover from violence, exploitation, abuse and violation of their human rights;” he noted.