Government of Ghana and IOM issue Joint Statement on Protection of Migrants

UNCT-GH-International-Migrants-Day-2016Invited dignitaries participate in discussions at the International Migrants Day workshop on Protecting Migrant Workers at Home and Abroad (From left to right: Ms. Sylvia Lopez-Ekra, Chief of Mission, IOM Ghana, Mr. Frederic Varenne, EU Delegation to Ghana, EU, Ms. Adelaide Anno-Kumi, Chief Director, Ministry of the Interior).

16 December 2016, Accra, Ghana

In commemoration of International Migrants Day 2016, seven key Ghanaian Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) issued a Joint Statement on Protecting Migrants at Home and Abroad.

The Joint Statement was the outcome of a workshop on the same theme, and was issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations, Labour Department, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Ghana Immigration Service (GIS), Ghana Police Service and IOM. The workshop was also attended by representatives from the European Union Delegation to Ghana, Embassy of the United States, British High Commission and civil society organizations.

Participants focused on issues of exploitation of migrant workers, particularly Ghanaian women and girls in the field of domestic work. According to information collected by GIS, over 2,000 women departed for work in the Middle East between September 2014 and January 2015. Since then, over 350 of them have returned, reporting inhumane working conditions and hours, physical, emotional and sexual exploitation and non-payment of salaries.

The Government of Ghana has taken numerous measures for better migration management including setting up a Migration Information Centre and a Migration Information Bureau, which act as one stop shops for information for potential migrants; signing of a bilateral agreement on labour issues with the Government of Jordan; creation of an association of employment agencies; sensitization of Ghanaian ambassadors and relevant stakeholders; development of a National Migration Policy; establishment of a unit at the Kotoka International Airport in Accra to identify potential victims of trafficking prior to departure and providing return and reintegration assistance to returnees through IOM.

However, recognizing the increasing challenges and the continued exploitation of migrants, the aforementioned MDAs and IOM, reaffirmed their commitment to the promotion and protection of the rights of vulnerable Ghanaian migrants at the workshop through the Joint Statement and made recommendations on the development of standardized operating procedures, information sharing and data collection protocols, provision of pre-departure training and orientation, improved monitoring of recruitment agencies and provision of systematic reintegration assistance among others.

The Joint Statement on Protecting Migrant Workers at Home and Abroad acknowledged the challenges at every stage of migration (pre-departure, departure, in host countries, return and post return) and consequently the need for a whole of government approach. Through this statement the participants recommitted themselves implementing the recommendations to ensure safe and humane migration and decent work for all Ghanaian migrants.

The workshop was held under the auspices of IOM’s Ghana Integrated Migration Management Approach (GIMMA) project which aims to bolster the Government of Ghana’s migration management efforts, funded by the European Union.

For more information please contact Kojo Wilmot at IOM Ghana. Email: kwilmot@iom.int, Tel. +233 24 342 0768