Over 700 Ghanaian Migrants Return Home with IOM Assistance
Accra – Earlier this week (15/05), IOM, the UN Migration Agency, in partnership with the Government of Ghana and the Airport Authorities, facilitated the return home of 148 Ghanaians via charter from Libya. The group, which included four women and two children, arrived at Kotoka International Airport in Accra in what was the fourth charter flight organized by IOM through the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration.
So far since June 2017, a total of 706 (661 men, 45 women) Ghanaians stranded in Libya have been assisted to return home voluntarily. The majority (70 per cent) of the returnees are being returned from various detention centres in Libya, while the rest are from the cities.
“The number of Ghanaians returning from detention situations in Libya still remains high, highlighting the need for continued interventions to ensure their protection,” said Sylvia Lopez-Ekra, IOM Chief of Mission in Ghana. “Our priority is to ensure the safe and dignified voluntary humanitarian return home for all Ghanaians in need in Libya. At the same time, we need to mobilize all possible resources, financial and in-kind, to make those returns sustainable for migrants and their communities," she added.
As of March 2018, according to IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix, 62,422 Ghanaians have been identified in Libya, with Ghanaians ranking fifth – after Egyptians, Nigeriens, Chadians and Sudanese – out of 38 different nationalities present in Libya.
Given the continued insecurity and maltreatment of migrants particularly in detention centres, IOM will continue to provide the option of voluntary humanitarian return to Ghanaians and other migrants in Libya and other transit countries, and continue to coordinate with the Government of Ghana to ensure smooth processing and registration upon arrival and subsequent reintegration into their communities of origin.
As part of its Voluntary Humanitarian Return (VHR) programme, from Libya and other transit areas, IOM conducts pre-departure interviews and medical examinations for all those who decide to return home, and facilitates the acquisition of travel documents.
Upon their arrival, all returnees are screened by Port Health officials, registered by the Ghana Immigration Service and inspected by the Ghana Police Service’s Bureau of National Investigations and Criminal Investigations Division. They are subsequently registered by IOM, and given food and water as well as pocket money for immediate needs. IOM also provides migrants with buses to local transport hubs.
Traditionally, the Ashanti, Brong-Ahafo and Greater Accra regions were the main areas of origin for Ghanaian returnees; however, the Western Region has become the second most popular region in terms of the number of returnees in recent months (18 per cent).
Returnees will have the opportunity to benefit from reintegration assistance which can consist of counselling, referrals to services (including psychosocial and medical), and other support — as needed and depending on the services available in the country.
The innovative integrated approach to reintegration assistance rolled out by IOM in the West and Central African Region under the EU-IOM Joint Initiative combines support for returning migrants and their home communities. It aims to mitigate possible tensions by involving local communities in the reintegration projects and raising awareness to address the potential stigma of returning. As such, projects can be community-based, collective, or individual for vulnerable migrants.
IOM Ghana’s return and reintegration support from transit countries such as Libya, Niger, Mali is part of the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration in Ghana, which began in June 2017. It is funded through the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF) and is implemented by IOM in collaboration with the Government of Ghana.
For more information please contact Anita J. Wadud at IOM Ghana: Tel. +233 302 742 930 ext. 2400, Email: [email protected]