The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Wednesday the government has on Tuesday 12 January 2021 signed a cooperation agreement on migration matters with the government of Switzerland in the city of Berne.

The signed Cooperation Agreement is meant to curb irregular migration and ensure effective protection of the rights of Gambian citizens who are migrants in Switzerland, according to a statement by the foreign ministry. The Swiss government however said it will involve deportation of Gambian migrants.

But according to the foreign ministry, the agreement “will create cordial working relations between the Government of The Gambia and the Government of Switzerland in identifying opportunities, coordinating and managing challenges of migration”.

“These, the two countries believe will further strengthen relations and deepen cooperation with regards to the effective management of migration, dealing with unemployment and creation of more opportunities for women and youth in The Gambia.

“The Government of The Gambia further negotiated for all undocumented Gambian migrants in Switzerland to be trained on livelihood skills and be integrated in Swiss community.

“As The Gambia progresses in enhancing her democracy, there is need to ensure that the country adheres to international Human Rights Instruments by respecting the laws of other countries whilst also ensuring that Gambian citizens within and outside enjoy the required protection of the Government. In this regard, the Government of The Gambia and the Government of Switzerland agreed that all legal remedies will be exhausted before any voluntary returnees will be repatriated,” the foreign ministry said in its statement.