A total of 1,939 Liberian refugees have been integrated into the country through the granting of residence permits and other support programmes, the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) has said.
In 2022, the GIS received and supported a total of 2,847 migrants, constituting 1,905 males and 942 females, to be reintegrated into various communities in Ghana.
The comptroller-general of immigration, Kwame Asuah Takyi, speaking at the launch of Caritas Ghana’s initiative, “Support Service for Migrants and Refugees in Transit (SMART) for Inclusive Development” project in Accra, said the GIS has supported return migrants and refugees and collaborated with relevant stakeholders for their reception, registration, hosting and integration in the country.
The “SMART for Inclusive Development” project is an initiative by Caritas Ghana, a charity organisation of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference, with support from the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development at the Vatican.
It aims at offering altruistic assistance and the rehabilitation of return migrants and refugees in Ghana in nine out of the 16 regions.
The regions are Ahafo, Bono-East, Greater Accra, Northern, Upper East, Upper West, Volta, Western and Oti.
The project was designed to achieve an overall goal of providing “responsive humanitarian assistance and reintegration support for return migrants and refugees in Ghana and curtail the menace of irregular migration from Ghana into the West through social and behavioural change communication activities in the communities by 2025.”
Takyi said the assistance to migrants has contributed considerably to the fight against irregular migration and the promotion of safe, orderly and legal migration.
The comptroller-general’s speech was read on his behalf by Isaac Ghansah, assistant commissioner of immigration.
Ghansah said the Ghana Immigration Service, through the migration management Bureau, has embarked on regular education and sensitisation programmes to create awareness on the dangers of irregular migration and avenues for safe and legal migration.
He stated that, in addition to creating awareness, the GIS has investigated and prosecuted several cases of document fraud, human trafficking and other related cases to serve as a deterrent to miscreants.
Ghansah said in March 2023, the anti-human smuggling and trafficking in person unit successfully prosecuted a human trafficking case with a conviction of a 15-year prison term for the trafficker.
He noted that in the first quarter of 2023 alone, about 33 persons had been convicted for various offences, including attempts to obtain Ghana passports by false declaration and other documents resulting in impersonation.
Ghansah said issues of migration are an essential constituent of globalisation and development and integral part of humanity. In in view of the critical role migration plays, there is the need to ensure that it is safe, orderly, regular and responsible as prescribed in the Sustainable Development Goals.
The assistant secretary-general of the national catholic secretariat, Charles Boampong Sarfo, said to ensure that activities and project structures continue to work beyond the funding window, Caritas Ghana will ensure a community-driven approach to the project implementation.
Sarfo said, that will require the adoption of local structures and partners to carry out direct implementation whilst Caritas Ghana plays a facilitating role. He stated that the local government structures will be directly engaged to enable them to learn from the process and begin to include the project intervention in their annual operational plan.
The assistant secretary-general said, the project action will include improving the institutional capacity of Caritas Ghana to respond to the relief and emergency needs of migrants and refugees in Ghana, shifting the perspectives of migrants, refugees and their families, and community on the successes and failures related to migration.
The project coordinator for human rights and justice at Caritas Ghana, Regina Ignatia Aflah, called for the support of all stakeholders to enable Caritas Ghana achieve as many outcomes as possible to secure the future of the country’s labour force, which is under threat due to the menace of irregular migration.