Migrant protection training for consular staff opens

By
Bertha Badu-Agyei/Natasha Arthur, GNA

Akosombo (E/R), Sept. 18, GNA – A five day
training to build the capacities of consular officials in seven missions abroad
has opened with a call on missions to be receptive to migrants and provide them
with the needed support.

The participants were selected from missions
in Jeddah, Riyadh, Kuwait City, Lome, Freetown, Abidjan and Ouagadougou to
improve protection for Ghanaian migrants who live, work, study, transit and
experience conflicts or natural disaster.

The training is part of a project being
implemented by the International Organization on Migration (IOM) in protecting
vulnerable migrants in West and Central Africa focusing on Ghana, Burkina Faso,
Senegal and the Gambia.

It is funded by the Bureau of Population,
Refugees and Migration (PRM) of the State Department of Government of the
United States.

Mr Charles Owiredu, Deputy Minister for
foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, said Ghana has been active in the
process of developing a global compact on migration and remains resolute to its
implementation.

He said the traditional roles of the consular
officer’s occasional visits to foreign prisons, to offer consular assistance to
detained Ghanaians or undertaking an identification exercise to be deported,
has become more complex, requiring training and special skills to deal with the
emerging trends.

The Deputy Minister said Ghana has witnessed
incidents of many Ghanaian migrants undertaking dangerous and perilous journeys
through the deserts in the bid to seek greener pastures adding that the
experiences in the Middle East where they ended up working as housemaids,
factory hands has not been pleasant.

This, he said, has placed the migrants in
situations that require urgent support and protection from the missions abroad
and this can only be achieved when the consular officers were given the
requisite training.

He announced that in line with government’s
foreign policy objective, the Ministry was considering an on-line Migrants in
Countries in Crisis (MICIC) training course for all officers in the Ghanaians
Missions abroad to serve as useful guide in offering consular services.

Madam Sylvia Lopez-Ekra, the IOM- Chief of
Mission, said there are Ghanaian migrants in all parts of the world and they
were not excluded from various challenges such as rape, torture and many other
abuses faced by migrants.

She said in order to offer such timely and
appropriate services, the consular officers must be able to identify and
understand the issues of vulnerable migrants including victims of trafficking.

Madam Lopez-Ekra said Ghana has a history of
migration and migrants facing serious abuses in several parts of the world and
expressed the hope that by the end of the training the participants would be
able to support migrants in their respective missions.

GNA

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