Is it a refugee trade or recommencement of the globally abolished slave trade?
Please allow me a chance to express through your credible news medium, the plight of Sierra Leonean refugees who are currently languishing in isolated asylum camps in the Federal Republic of Germany, some whom had been rejected papers for more than 10 years ago.
When President Ernest Bai Koroma emerged victorious in the last presidential and parliamentary elections in Sierra Leonean, most Sierra Leonean refugees in Germany including myself burst into joy in anticipation of the positive changes that he preached during the political campaign under the symbol of what we always viewed as a brand new, different APC. Our expectations even rose beyond sky limit when he started inviting his compatriots in the diasporas to go back home and help rebuild the nation in spirit of patriotism and national unity.
Our expectations however, has recently diminished to the lowest degree as we realised that the current APC government is not only attacking journalists, awarding unethical electricity contracts, signing questionable deals in favour of Lebanese merchants, but the department of Foreign Affairs and International Relations in collaboration with the Immigration Headquarters in Freetown, are currently working hands in gloves with the European governments to carry out what they call “coordinated deportation exercise “ which will target all Sierra Leonean refugees in the region.
President Koroma’s government is believed to have signed a deal with the European states, particularly the Federal Republic of Germany, to exchange Travellers Certificates (TC) with economic aid since most refugees in the country arrived without passport. A verification team including officials from Foreign Affairs and Immigration departments in Freetown are due in Germany on the 15th this month to help the German government identify Sierra Leonean citizens to be deported.
An official letter signed by the head of Foreign Office (Ausländerbehorde) has been circulated to all Sierra Leonean refugees in the country (including myself) to report to the nearest police station on a specific date between 15th and 30 September 2008. The Sierra Leonean government, according to credible source, has also agreed to issue TC to all other West African citizens who had seek asylum in Germany over the years using Sierra Leone. A sudden shock is going down our spines to learn that APC can accept such an unpatriotic deal after the then SLPP regime had exclusively rejected it over the years.
The Sierra Leonean Embassy in Bonn, Germany, has confirmed that indeed such development is in progress but they were never informed by neither the home Government nor the German government.
In May last year, similar exercise threw into quagmire thousands of poor families in Togo, Guinea and Nigeria as they unexpectedly received hundreds of their relatives after their governments had issued Travellers Certificates to the European states in exchange of financial support for their corrupt administrations.
It is now clear that the APC’s habit of saying YES to whatever idea rejected by sober minded governments (example Zainab Banguras’ YES to Chaina against Tibet, Serry Kamal’s YES to Wanza, and President Koroma’s YES to the current deportation scheme) has decreased their popularity among the Sierra Leonean community in Germany to infinitesimal
It’s note worthy that the Universal Declaration of human-right which took place decades ago in Geneva prohibited the sale, exchange or replacement of human being with cash, object, chance, or idea of any type. It’s in view of the above that we the Sierra Leonean refugees in Germany are requesting an answer from both the German and Sierra Leone governments: Is this scheme a refugee trade or recommencement of the globally abolished slave trade?
By Bassy Kamara
United Sierra Leoneans in Hamburg