- Illegal immigrants also have certain rights, Ghana's Minister for the Interior, Papa Owusu Ankoma, insists. He in particular refers to thousands of Ghanaians living abroad illegally, saying that Accra authorities would increase their efforts to secure their human rights situation. Most complaints had come from Ghanaians in Libya.
Minister Ankoma yesterday stated that the government of Ghana had received complaints by many Ghanaian nationals on their treatment abroad. This in particular included Ghanaians who by some reasons were repatriated, suffering various humiliations including being flown in cargo flights without humane facilities, seizure of their passports, imprisonment without trials and others.
Most complaints had been received from Ghanaians expelled from Libya. Mr Ankoma indicated that some 6,000 Ghanaians were deported from Libya last year, and an additional 14,000 were expected this year. The government of Ghana would now ensure that the "fundamental human rights" of these illegal immigrants were not trampled upon.
Libya has recently become known for its inhumane treatment of illegal immigrants. Developing into a transit country for hopeful emigrants from West Africa and the Horn heading for Europe, Libya does not grant illegal immigrants any rights. Libya has not signed UN conventions on refugees and therefore does not feel obliged to give arrivals a proper chance to have their case tested.
The UN's refugee agency UNHCR only a few months ago slammed the Libyan government over the "continued forcible return of potential refugees" from the North African country. Asylum seekers in Libya were facing a serious situation, the UN agency held.
According to reports by UNHCR, it is commonplace in Libya that asylum seekers are being held detained without charges for a prolonged period without being given access to any asylum procedure. Further, it was normal for large groups of immigrants declared illegal to be deported to their country of origin without prior notice - also to countries were they face persecution.
Emigrants from Ghana mostly have no political motives for leaving the country. The Accra government expects than more than 10,000 Ghanaians are currently in Libya, hoping for a shipment to Europe. If caught by Libyan authorities, these immigrants are likely to face imprisonment in inhumane conditions and deportation back to Ghana.
The Ghanaian Interior Minister now wants foreign countries to treat his nationals properly, whether they are illegal immigrants or not. Minister Ankoma was speaking to the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) when announcing his government's increased efforts, according to information released by Accra authorities.
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