Collaboration with Government partners ensures safe voluntary return of 169 Ghanaian migrants
Accra, Ghana – On 26 October 2023, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), in close collaboration with the Government of Ghana, facilitated the voluntary return of 169 Ghanaian migrants (136 men, 33 women) from Libya via charter flight. IOM is working closely with its Government partners and other migration stakeholders to ensure the safe return and sustainable reintegration of Ghanaian returnees. As part of IOM’s Voluntary Humanitarian Return Assistance Programme, this support is made possible thanks to the Migrant Protection, Return and Reintegration Programme for Sub-Saharan Africa (MPRR-SSA) funded by the European Union.
“IOM believes that partnerships are not only crucial to identify comprehensive and sustainable solutions to the challenges, but also to reap the multifaceted benefits of migration,” said Lamine Kane, Project Manager, IOM Ghana.
The Ghana Health Service (GHS), Ghana Immigration Service (GIS), Port Health, National Intelligence Bureau (NIB), National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) and Ghana Police Service (GPS) joined the IOM team at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) to ensure a smooth post-arrival support for the returned migrants.
Echoing the importance of collaboration, Charlotte A. Ampomah, Clinical Psychologist, Port Health, the state agency that manages all health-related matters upon arrival, said: “Bringing all migration stakeholders on board is key in such a humanitarian activity. Every stakeholder has to play their specific role in aiding the safe return and reintegration of these migrants.”
Staff from GHS, Port Health and IOM Ghana’s Migration Health Division (MHD) ensured specialized assistance for 25 migrants with medical conditions, making their situation vulnerable. Prior to departure, IOM Libya provided these migrants with the necessary medical support and also took care of medical escorts onboard the flight. Psychosocial experts from IOM, GHS and the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) provided psychological first aid and mental health screenings for all returnees, and ensured medical referrals as needed.
Given the traumatic experiences many migrants face on irregular journeys, such dedicated assistance is crucial. One returnee shared with IOM upon arrival: “I pray that no one has to go through what I went through. I experienced inhumane and cruel treatment. I am grateful to be back with my loved ones and to have the opportunity to raise awareness about the dangers of irregular migration. I urge anyone considering this journey to think twice and to explore safe alternatives.”
Upon arrival, the retuned migrants received food, water, drinks, hygiene kits, and cash assistance for their immediate needs, and their onward transportation to the main areas of return including Dormaa, Kintampo, Kumasi, and within Accra, were taken care of.
Going forward, IOM and partners will support returnees with developing a comprehensive reintegration plan which encompasses economic, social and psychosocial needs, and may include income-generating activities, housing, education, or training to develop business and other skills. In 2023, 164 returnees (150 men, 14 women) have benefitted from IOM’s holistic and innovative reintegration approach.
The diversity of stakeholders involved in ensuring the safe return and sustainable reintegration of Ghanaian migrants are guided by the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for Reintegration of Returnees in Ghana, a comprehensive framework outlining the respective responsibilities of state and non-state actors in the process.
For more information, please contact :
Victoria Adomako, IOM Ghana Reintegration Assistant, at VKankam@iom.int.