Government will not pay for return of bodies of migrants who died abroad: Foreign Affairs

Following the deaths of several “backway” migrants from The Gambia, a spokesperson from the Ministry Foreign Affairs has stated that the government will not assist with the cost of repatriation of remains of Gambians who die in the course of irregular migration.

The cremated remains of two brothers, Muhammed and Eliman Mbye, are currently being held in a morgue in Terifa, Spain. The brothers, along with an estimated 20 other people, died in February while trying to cross from Morocco to Spain, A total of 118 migrants have died trying to make the crossing between North Africa and Spain between January and April of this year, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Speaking to the newspaper Foroyaa, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Communication Secretary Saihou Ceesay stated that the government is unable to pay for the repatriation of the remains.

“There are no funds for such eventualities. This clarification is necessary because some families are with the notion that the Foreign Ministry and Embassies, should foot the bill for such responsibilities,” Ceesay was quoted as saying to Foroyaa

Ceesay also noted that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is still working with their diplomatic counterparts in Morocco and Spain to investigate the incident.

The issue of the repatriation of remains to The Gambia also comes following the death of Sanna Dampha, in Italy. Dampha, from Brufut, was also an Irregular Migrant whose remains are being held in Italy and have not been handed over for a funeral. Because Damphawas no longer being hosted in an asylum camp, the Government of Italy will not cover the costs of repatriation, and friends and coworkers in are raising money to repatriate his ashes to The Gambia.

TMP – 15/05/2018

Photo caption: dead corpses along the streets of Strasbourg in the wake of migrants boat disasters.