The organisation said these persons are part of 706 Ghanaians that have been brought back to Ghana over the past 11 months.
"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 number of Ghanaians returning from detention situations in Libya remains high, highlighting the need for continued interventions to ensure their protection," the statement noted.
Read below the full statement:
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 5 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.