More than 50% of migrants died on the dessert – Minister

Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey

Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, on Tuesday said more than fifty per cent of migrants who embark on irregular migration died on the desert.

She said some of those who were able to cross the dangerous desert and get on the boats to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Italy and other European countries also died due to marine accidents or the cold weather.

Madam Botchwey, who said this at the meet-the-press briefing in Accra on Tuesday, noted that sometimes when these irregular migrants got to their destinations, criminals took advantage of them and extorted monies from the relatives of the vulnerable migrants who were able to make it to Italy.

She gave an assurance that the government had put in place measures to create a brighter and better future for young people to entice them to stay in the country.

The Minister said migration had become a thorny global issue and could 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, Madam Botchwey said it had 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 said in collaboration with International Migration Organisation (IOM), the Ministry 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.

Madam Botchwey noted that the IOM was 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 €3 million.

The project, she explained, 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 stated that the adoption of the Global Compact at an inter-governmental Conference in Marrakesh, Morocco in December 2018 was another milestone towards improvement in the governance of and a holistic approach to international migration.

The Ministry, she said, was working with other Municipal and District Assemblies 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.

Madam Botchwey noted that the Ministry would continue to sensitize the public to be wary of unscrupulous agents facilitating visa acquisitions and the dangers of travelling without proper documentation.

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

Source: GNA

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