The government has initiated engagements with various countries as part of efforts to ensure that Ghanaian migrants are treated with dignity and respect during their repatriation.
This follows persistent reports of inhumane treatment meted out to both regular and irregular Ghanaian migrants when they were either forcefully or willingly deported for various reasons.
The Director-General of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), Eric Nana Agyeman Prempeh, who disclosed these on the sidelines of a workshop in Accra yesterday, said although the government did not endorse irregular migration, Ghanaian citizens were to be handled with respect.
The workshop, which was to train about 70 NADMO staff on how to provide psycho-social counseling to returnees and disaster victims, was organised by NADMO in collaboration with the International organisation for Migration (IOM), and German Development Corporation (GIZ).
It is part of training being organised by the IOM and its partners to ensure smooth integration of returnees into society after their harrowing experiences abroad.
Highlighting the experiences of returnees, Mr Prempeh said some of them were handcuffed for several hours throughout their long flights while conditions in detention centres in some countries were abhorrent.
“When you want to arrest some people, definitely they would fight back, but when you are able to get the person into the plane, is he going to fight in the air plane? So how can you handcuff somebody for 11 hours from New York to Accra. That is inhumane.
“It is not acceptable so we are talking to them and that is why I’m saying that , yes we in Ghana here want every country to respect our immigration laws and regulation the same way we want to respect their own,”Mr Prempeh said.
He said distress associated with the ill-treatment, compounded the traumatic conditions the deportees were already in, due to their deportation.
Although Mr Prempeh could not readily give data on Ghanaian returnees, he said sometimes in a week more than 400 Ghanaians were deported from Europe, America and Canada.
He said the restoration of the psychosocial well-being of returnees and victims of disaster had become imperative, hence the need to train officers to offer such services.
Mr Prempeh commended IOM’s reintegration initiatives and pledged the government’s commitment to collaborate with all partners to see returned migrants regained sustainable socio-economic balance.
A Senior National Programme Co-ordinator for migration at the Ghana-German Centre, Mr David Tette, said the centre was set up in 2017 to provide support to returnees and potential migrants.
Since then, he said, the centre had supported about 1,000 returnees with entrepreneurial skills and reintegrated some of them who were currently doing well in their various ventures.
The project manager of IOM Ghana, Florian Braendli, said inclusive and human-centred approach was needed in handling migrants for their well-being hence the series of training being organised.
Source : Ghanaweb