Gov’t Working To Protect Migrants Interest

Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, has stressed that government was keeping with its mandate to protect the interests and welfare of Ghanaians abroad.

Speaking in reference to the inhuman treatment of some Ghanaian migrant workers in the Gulf Region, she said government was working with relevant stakeholders to establish the legal framework to regulate the recruitment and protection of Ghanaian migrant workers to ensure their fundamental human rights and dignity are respected.

“Negotiations are currently ongoing with the United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the State of Kuwait and other countries in the Gulf Region,” she added.

Madam Botchwey further explained that the agreements would include Regulation of Labour Migration and Model Employment Contract between a Kuwait Employer and a Ghanaian Labour Migrant; and Agreement on Domestic Workers Recruitment between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Ghana.

“Notes have also been exchanged on a draft Agreement on the Regulation of Migrant workers in the United Arab Emirates,” she indicated.

The sector minister said migration has become a global issue that can only be properly addressed in the spirit of partnership and respect for international law and treaty obligations.

“Dealing with the scourge of irregular legal migration has become more pronounced in the wake of the modern day slavery as was recently reported in Libya, where a large number of sub-Saharan Africans were being auctioned as slaves,” she indicated.

She said the ministry was working with other MDAs in the context of an Inter-Agency Committee established by the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations to institute measures to streamline the recruitment of Ghanaians intending to work in the Middle East and the Gulf countries.

“The ministry continues to sensitize the public to be wary of unscrupulous agents facilitating visa acquisitions and the dangers of travelling without proper documentation,” she added.

International Partnerships

Madam Botchwey highlighting some international collaboration aimed at curbing irregular migration indicated that government in collaboration with International Organization for Migration (IOM), has facilitated the voluntary repatriation of about 843 illegal Ghanaian migrants under the “Return, Readmission and Reintegration Programme,” via a chartered flight from Tripoli, Libya, to Ghana.

She said the (IOM) is currently implementing a project dubbed “Strengthening the Management and Governance of Migration and the Sustainable Reintegration or Returning Migrants into Ghana” with an amount of three million Euros.

“The project seeks to support the government to improve the reintegration of 650 returning migrants, strengthen national structures to manage the reintegration process in a dignified and sustainable manner,” she averred.

She said the governments of the Federal Republic of Germany through its Compact with Africa (CwA) programme has built a state of the art skills centre in Accra to provide the Ghanaian youth with vocational and technical skills, as part of the initiatives to curb the flow of irregular migration.

By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri