Over 450 Ghanaians rescued from Libyan detention camps – IOM

General News of Thursday, 17 May 2018

Source: citinewsroom.com

2018-05-17

African migrants at a detention center, in Zawiya, Libya

Over 450 Ghanaians have been rescued from detention centres in Libya since June 2017.

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), these persons are part of 706 Ghanaians that have been brought back to Ghana over the past 11 months.

The IOM released a statement indicated that a recent batch of 148 Ghanaians touched down in Accra on Tuesday via a charter flight from Libya.

Of this number, 142 were men, with four women and two children.

“This is the fourth charter flight organised by IOM through the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration, allowing Ghanaians stranded in Libya to voluntarily return home since June 2017, bringing the total number of returns to 706 (661 men, 45 women). The majority (70%) of the returnees are being returned from various detention centres in Libya, while the remaining are from the cities,” the statement from the IOM noted.

Sylvia Lopez-Ekra, Chief of Mission of IOM Ghana, indicated that “the number of Ghanaians returning from detention situations in Libya remains high, highlighting the need for continued interventions to ensure their protection.”

Per the IOM’s monitoring, 62,422 Ghanaians have been identified in Libya, with Ghanaians ranking as the fifth-highest nationality after Egyptians, Nigeriens, Chadians and Sudanese out of 38 different nationalities.

A number of these migrants, aside from being at the mercy of the harsh travel conditions, also have also had to be wary of the slave markets as they use the North African country as a transit to Europe.

In 2017, there were reports that their captors were selling Africans trying to reach Europe in slave markets in Libya.

People smugglers or militia groups have detained victims and taken to town squares or car parks to be sold.

More migrants from Western Region

Another development indicates that the number of returnees from the Western Region has increased.

The Brong-Ahafo Region, Ashanti Region and Greater Accra Region are generally known as the areas of high migration rates.

“While traditionally Ashanti Region, Brong-Ahafo Region and Greater Accra Region were the main areas of origin for Ghanaian returnees, in recent months, the Western Region has become the second highest regarding the number of returnees (18%). Returnees will have the opportunity to benefit from reintegration assistance which can consist of counselling, referrals to services including psychosocial and medical, and other support as needed and depending on the services available in the country,” the IOM statement said.

Find the full IOM statement below:

IOM Assisted Over 700 Ghanaians Return Home

IOM Ghana in partnership with the Government of Ghana and the Airport Authorities facilitated the arrival of 148 Ghanaians via charter from Libya at the Kotoka International Airport in Accra, including four women, two children.

This is the fourth charter flight organised by IOM through the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration, allowing Ghanaians stranded in Libya to voluntarily return home since June 2017, bringing the total number of returns to 706 (661 men, 45 women). The majority (70%) of the returnees are being returned from various detention centres in Libya, while the remaining are from the cities.

Sylvia Lopez-Ekra, Chief of Mission of IOM Ghana said “The number of Ghanaians returning from detention situations in Libya remains high, highlighting the need for continued interventions to ensure their protection. Our priority is to ensure the safe and dignified voluntary humanitarian return home for all Ghanaians in need in Libya. At the same time, we need to mobilise all possible resources, financial and in-kind, to make those returns sustainable for migrants and their communities”.

As of March 2018, according to IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix, 62,422 Ghanaians have been identified in Libya, with Ghanaians ranking 5th after Egyptians, Nigeriens, Chadians and Sudanese out of 38 different nationalities in Libya.

Given the continued insecurity and maltreatment of migrants particularly in detention centres, IOM will continue to provide the option of voluntary humanitarian return to Ghanaians and other migrants in Libya and other transit countries, and continue to coordinate with the Government of Ghana to ensure smooth processing and registration upon arrival and subsequent reintegration in their communities of origin.

As part of its Voluntary Humanitarian Return (VHR) programme, from Libya and other transit areas, IOM conducts pre-departure interviews and medical examinations for all those who decided to return home and facilitates the acquisition of travel documents. Upon their arrival, all returnees are screened by Port Health, registered by Ghana Immigration Service and inspected by Ghana Police Service, Bureau of National Investigations and Criminal Investigations Division. Following which, they were registered by IOM, provided food and water as well as pocket money (USD 100 equivalent in Ghana cedis) for immediate needs. IOM also provides migrants with buses to local transport hubs.

While traditionally Ashanti Region, Brong-Ahafo Region and Greater Accra Region were the main areas of origin for Ghanaian returnees, in recent months, the Western Region has become the second highest in terms of the number of returnees (18%). Returnees will have the opportunity to benefit from reintegration assistance which can consist of counselling, referrals to services including psychosocial and medical, and other support as needed and depending on the services available in the country.

The innovative integrated approach to reintegration assistance rolled out by IOM in the West, and Central African Region under the EU-IOM Joint Initiative combines support for returning migrants and their home communities. It aims to mitigate possible tensions by involving local communities in the reintegration projects and raising awareness to address the potential stigma of return. As such, projects can be community-based, collective, as well as individual for vulnerable migrants.

IOM Ghana’s return and reintegration support from transit countries such as Libya, Niger, Mali is part of the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration in Ghana, which began in June 2017. It is funded through the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF) and is implemented by IOM in collaboration with the Government of Ghana.

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