Four of those deported from USA to Sierra Leone have so far died

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 24 February 2020:

The National Coordinator  of the Network of Ex-Asylum Seekers – Mr Abdulai Daramy, today urged the government of Sierra Leone to resist the arbitrary deportation of ex-asylum seekers and refugees from the United States of America (USA) and some European countries to Sierra Leone.

He said that such deportations are in contravention of the 1961 UN Convention. The  1967 protocol and the African Union, UN and the Geneva Convention on Human Rights.

Speaking at a press conference held at the Network of Ex-Asylum Seekers’ headquarters situated at No 54 Wellington Street in Freetown, the coordinator revealed that since the organization was established in 2011 and registered in 2015 as an advocacy network for the rights of deportees which campaigns for the enactment of a deportation Law or Policy that will enhance the reintegration of Sierra Leoneans refugees in society and ensure their Socio-Economic Security, NEAS has rescued 175 deportees from stress and stigmatization of deportation.

Daramy said that since August 2019, when the USA deported many individuals to Sierra Leone, four deportees have since died due to  frustration, despite counselling; twenty others are undergoing medical care in mental homes; while others could not be traced by their respective families, as they are constantly moving around the city’s streets aimlessly, suffering from some form of mental disorder.

He commended Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to the United States and Canada – Ambassador Sidique Wai for his statement published on 25th January 2020, in which he committed to change the deportation policy and process.

Addressing the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and other enforcement custody agencies, he said that deportees to Sierra must present a Sierra Leonean Passport and Birth Certificate before issuance of the Emergency Travelling Certificate to avoid deportation of Non-nationals.

The U.S. Department Immigration Officials must provide a valid deportation order from a U.S. Judge, Certifying that all legal remedies entitled the deportee under U.S Law has been certified, he said.

Furthermore, he said that NEAS is concerned about the unlawful imprisonment, coercion, terrorization, torture, etc that are common practices used during deportation by not only the United States but most other Western Countries forcefully removing migrants.

NEAS regards this poor treatment as unacceptable and therefore wants to take this opportunity to call on the government of Sierra Leone through the Foreign Ministry, to take steps to ensure that the rights of Sierra Leonean asylum seekers and deportees are respected and protected.

Writing today on his tweeter feed, BBC reporter – Umaru Fofanah said: “I am appalled that an official press release from Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs can contain such falsehood about the two deportees from the US who were brought to the country on emergency travel certificates they refused to sign because they insisted and maintain they’re NOT from here!! I’ll ignore the other controvertible areas of the press release but not the last sentence which reads: ‘Meanwhile…Essential items, accommodation and food have also been provided to both of them [by the ministry]’.

“I spent much of yesterday and today trying to get the two men back under a roof. Reason: they were locked out because the ministry had abandoned them and failed to pay their hotel bills almost since they were checked in on 1 February when they left a police cell.

“Thanks to an anonymous businessman, I paid their arrears of Le 8,700,000 today. The ministry had only paid for them for three nights. I also paid for them for 10 nights in advance starting tonight. I gave them money for food because the Le 25,000 the ministry promised them was not only inadequate but apparently not forthcoming. I doubled that amount. I also gave them money for clothes because since I started working on their story I almost always saw them in the same clothes..”

7 Comments

  1. I’m going to go against the grain here. When the latest deportees say that they are not from the Sierra Leone, what do they mean? Were they born in Sierra Leone, but later moved to a Caribbean country, then to the US? Were they born in a Caribbean country that doesn’t support birthright citizenship, then migrated to the US, voluntarily or involuntary?

    Although they may have grew up and spent most of their life in a different country, their country of origin could be Sierra Leone. Out of all those years spent in a different country, did they not think to go pursue their citizenship in that country? I realize the path to citizenship in a lot of countries are not straight forward, US included, but there are ways.

  2. Our diplomatic service is so inadequate or should I say no voice to represent or protect their own. No pointing fingers but as a government, they are there to protect and to serve their own. Same as a father in the house. I am still believing that the major solution of true leadership in Sierra Leone will be solved soon.

  3. Embarrassing stuff for the image of our country worldwide. Sad, with all those so-called PHD holders in the Bio Administration, some of whom were refugees themselves, such inexplicable and embarrassing situation is happening in our country. OK. Thank you very much Mr. Umaru Fofanah for bringing out the facts concerning this matter. The Bio Administration is as always, engaged in spreading fake news, fake information, cooked press releases and deceit a habit. They are now in the habit of spreading fake news to us even with a very simple matter that could be resolved without problems.

    Does the President has control of his administration? Is he informed when some officials just say what they want to say to spread embarrassing fake news? Does the President know what is happening, but does not care? OK. So far, so good. With four dead, two stranded in our country and the rest suffering from mental health illnesses, the government, in my view has a very messy issue on its hands.

    Let me say it again, it’s not the US nor the U.N. who must take care of this mess or take responsibility for this silly diplomatic failure. The government of the Republic of Sierra Leone was responsible for the mess and must clean the mess they created. Finally, please take your responsibility and use your leadership qualities to sort out this mess Mr President. The world is watching your Administration and our country. God bless every refugee, Mr Umaru Fofanah, Mr Abdulai Darammy, the anonymous businessman, the President and all those helping to resolve this problem.

  4. Mr Thomas – Please be kind enough,to tell me what I wrote in my comment that was plainly fabricated,and not true? (lol)The anger in my comment is real! You deleted most of what many people consider as intrinsic problems Sierra Leone,and Africa is facing today. You cannot sweep the truth under the rug. Its time to be brutally honest,and call things as they really are,otherwise there’s no hope for Africa.
    Glaringly highlighting our problems,is our only way out of a system shackled by unchecked negligence,mediocrity,and incompetence.
    Now,hear this – I have been in twenty African countries,and all I saw in every one of them, were traumatic people in total despair living in the most sickening,unlivable conditions.
    imaginable and you Mr Editor,think its not
    worth pointing out,huh?(lmao)In Lagos,in Ajegule there,abject poverty has subdued,and enslaved thousands;And with own my eyes did I see families,and their old living under shaky,unsteady, ramshackle bridges. And you think,its not worth mentioning,and pointing out?(lol) In Ghana,there’s a deplorable slum
    called,Sodom,and Gommorah,strange but very
    true;it is there that you will see pregnant children working as prostitutes,just to get by in a polluted slum,infested with filth,rodents,in surroundings that promote diseases. And you
    Sir,think,its alright,to let it stay hidden,huh?(lol)
    Well,I represent a people with compassionate hearts,who cannot ignore such things. Good for you Sir,that your standards mean a lot to you,I applaud you for not deleting the whole
    damn thing. Its all good. Its alright,its fine! Time to move on…Rising Sun Will Rise Again.

  5. The problem for those sent to Sierra Leone began in the USA. There was no proper dealing of foreigners, either in the USA and in Sierra Leone. These cases should be given back to the UN for verifications. These people are sent by the foreign government knowing exactly what Sierra Leone is today forgetting their eleven years civil strife. Africa is not a developed continent and those sent will have to face hardship and deprivation, which somehow ends in mental problem. I am kindly asking the United Nations to help these people. Long live Sierra Leone and her people.

  6. Oh my God! What a heartbreaking news! First,to lose your livelihood,get humiliated,deported,and to die miserably afterwards. Where else can Hell be found,folks, if not in Sierra Leone? A mean-spirited,resentful people we are,with icy cold unsympathetic, devilish hearts made of stone.

    My Goodness,my wicked people, looked away, laughed,ridiculed,frowned and watch their own brothers,and sisters die, dejected, heartbroken, and in pain.So,so very Sad. This is exactly what happens when you have incompetent people in positions of critical importance,they always end up failing those who need them the most. Those deportees should never have been allowed to return home without government assurances that adequate financial support, emotional care and assistance was already, prepared, and waiting for them.

    This SLPP government is the worst to have ever assumed the reins of power in Sierra Leone.Only time will reveal to us how much damage they have done to the image,and credibility of our country.These irresponsible people need to return those foreigners stranded in Sierra Leone to the United States,or compensate them for the horrific ordeal they have suffered and been through because of the stupidity, ignorance,gross ineptitude,and poor sense of judgement of the government of Sierra Leone. Rising Sun Will Rise Again.

    • “This SLPP government is the worst to have ever assumed the reins of power in Sierra Leone”. Saidu Conteh

      Even though I came into this world after 1995, I have read and I have been told that in the 80s Sierra Leoneans used to queue for everything under the sun. Children were taken out of schools to run after trucks selling rice by cup, the toilets at government buildings, offices and tertiary institutions were flushed once every two weeks because of lack of running water. Teachers and civil servants would go for six or more months without getting their salaries.

      I don’t know if those days to you were the best. It could be, if you were a beneficiary of that which plunged our country into desperation and war.

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