IOM Ghana Assists 106 Ghanaians to Return Home
Accra – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, in Ghana in partnership with the Government of Ghana and the Airport Authorities facilitated the arrival of 106 Ghanaians, including 9 women, 2 infants and one child, from Libya via charter at the Kotoka International Airport.
This is the third charter flight organized by IOM to support the dignified return of Ghanaians from Libya, since July 2017; bringing the total number of returns to 496 (457 men – 39 women).
All Ghanaians whose returns are facilitated by IOM have chosen to voluntarily come home. As a part of its Voluntary Humanitarian Return (VHR) programme, from Libya and other transit areas, IOM conducts pre-departure interviews and medical examinations for all returnees and facilitates the acquisition of travel documents and issuance of exit visas through the Ghanaian Mission in Malta. Between 5-10 February 2018, IOM facilitated an official visit to Libya of a delegation of 5 government officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, the Ministry of Interior and the Ghana Immigration Service. The visit, which focused on increasing outreach to the Ghanaian community in Libya and providing enhanced consular services, supported the organization of the charter flight that arrived on Tuesday, 13 March.
“Contrary to the first two charter flights we have previously organized where almost all the returnees were coming from detention centres, two-third of the arrivals on this flight were living in the city. It is important to acknowledge the diverse composition of the Ghanaian population in Libya as well as their diverse needs before and after repatriation. IOM continues to assist detained migrants but we are at the same time increasing efforts to reach stranded migrants outside of detention,” explained Sylvia Lopez Ekra, IOM Ghana Chief of Mission.
Upon their arrival, all returnees were screened by Port Health, registered by Ghana Immigration Service and were provided cash support by IOM for immediate needs.
IOM also provided migrants with food and water, as well as buses to local transport hubs. These migrants 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.
“Considering the scale of returns, one of the key challenges we will be facing is to provide adequate reintegration support to returnees.
It is important to remember that meaningful and sustainable reintegration is complex and requires time but, if done right, has the potential to complement local development in areas with a large number of returning migrants” added Ms Lopez-Ekra.
The new, integrated approach to reintegration assistance rolled out by IOM in the West and Central African Region combines support for returning migrants and their home communities.
It aims to mitigate possible tensions at home for returnees by involving local communities in the reintegration process and raising awareness to address the potential stigma of return.
For this reason, projects can be participatory and community-based projects, as well as collective and individual initiatives.
IOM Ghana return and reintegration support of stranded Ghanaian migrants stranded in Libya is part of the EU-IOM Joint Initiative on Migrant Protection and Reintegration launched in December 2016, through the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF).
Since June 2017, IOM Ghana has helped facilitate the return of 544 stranded Ghanaians migrants (502 men – 42 women), mainly from Libya and Niger. The main goal of IOM’s work in Africa under the Joint initiative is to strengthen mechanisms to protect and assist migrants along all migratory routes through advocacy and direct assistance.
As of 13 March 2018, IOM, the UN Migration Agency, has assisted 10,171 migrants to return home safely from Libya with support from the European Union, African Union, and the Libyan Government since the scale-up of Voluntary Humanitarian Return (VHR) on 28 November 2017. Some 23,302 migrants have returned through IOM’s VHR programme since January 2017.
Some 23,302 migrants have returned through IOM’s VHR programme since January 2017. You can read more here.