Immigration Service alone cannot manage migration – Minister
Mr Kwesi Ahwoi, Minister of Interior (MOI), has stated that the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) alone cannot effectively manage issues of migration.
He therefore, called for a more coherent, comprehensive and integrated participatory approach that would foster constant collaboration with various stakeholders in the management of migration.
Mr Ahwoi’s speech was read by Mrs Christian Edmund, Chief Director, MOI, during the commissioning of four projects at the Immigration Service Academy and Training School (ISATS), at Assin Fosu, in the Central region.
The projects, which were funded by the European Union (EU) and the Danish government at a cost of GH₵256,000, are to enhance the capacity-building and performance of GIS officers and its partner agencies to effectively disrupt organised and irregular migration activities.
They projects are the renovation of the female dormitory and construction of a new one-unit 4-bedroom instructors quarters at the training school, and the construction of 16-bed capacity female dormitory and the establishment of a 31-seater modern ICT laboratory at the Academy.
The projects also forms part of the Thematic Programme on Migration and Asylum dubbed “Countering human smuggling and other irregular migration in Ghana” which is a three-year contract between the EU and GIS signed in December 2010 but its implementation started in January, 2011.
Mr Ahwoi also stated that the government, with the assistance of the EU, had drafted the first ever migration policy in Ghana. The plan, he said, among other important factors looks at the effective management of migration for development.
He noted that the policy underscored the linkage between migration and development and outlined strategies to be followed to realize the benefits thereof.
He stated that the government was committed to providing resources to help the service attain its strategic objectives.
Mr Ahwoi further lauded the European Union and the Danish government for their support to the GIS to help train several middle-level GIS officers.
He noted that recent developments around the world had shown that migration management was shaping the globalization discourse.
He said the government of Ghana fully identifies with the international community on the principle that humane and orderly migration benefits host and origin countries as well as migrants.
Mr Claude Maerten, Head of European Union Delegation in Ghana said the recent tragic events of deaths of hundreds of migrants including women and children in the Mediterranean sea off the coast of Italy was a reminder of the growing threat posed by the two crimes of human trafficking and migrant smuggling.
He said the practice of human trafficking and smuggling had seen a rise over the past decade and today it accounted for significant crimes related to illegal immigration around the world.
He said trafficking and smuggling of human beings was a serious crime and gross violation of the human rights, which could be classified as modern form of slavery.
Mr Maerten also stated that trafficking and smuggling of migrants has been and continues to be a priority for the EU.
He commended Ghana, especially the GIS, for the impressive effort at combating human trafficking and smuggling.
He said the passage of the Immigration Amendment Act 848 (2012), which criminalizes migrant smuggling as being in the right direction.
Commissioner of Police (COP), Dr Peter Wiredu, Director of GIS stated that the GIS is at a critical crossroad, where the service is seeking to implement its 4-year strategic plan alongside very important programmes and projects that fall within its official mandate.
He said the strategic plan holds the necessary transformational intervention for the service if the needed funding and support are obtained.
He said the future of the service also greatly depends on the inroads the board, management, officers, MOI and the development partners are able to make in the next few years as far as the implementation of the plan is concerned.
Dr Wiredu also praised the EU and the Danish government for their assistance to the Immigration Service Academy and Training School, especially the needed infrastructure.
He said the service over the past three years, had availed its facilities at the Academy and Training school for the training of Liberian Immigration officers.
“We believe that with the needed investment from government and our development partners, we will be well placed to expand our relationship with other countries within the sub-region, which in the long term, would make for a lot of savings for our development partners in their contribution to migration management,” he added.