A NATIONAL Commission on Migration is to be established to manage migration and its related issues.
It will also provide intervention in line with the National Migration Policy.
The President, John Dramani Mahama, said this in Accra yesterday in a speech read on his behalf by the Minister of the Interior, Mr Prosper Bani, at the launch of the National Migration Policy.
The President said government was very much interested in migration management, noting that mainstreaming migration into development would be adequately achieved if there was a policy framework underpinning the processes.
Various reports, he said, indicated that every year, many Ghanaian youth trekked through the Sahara Desert to other countries, including Libya and Morocco, as transit countries, and later crossed the Mediterranean Sea to Europe and the United States.
Most of the irregular migrants, he said, traveled without proper documents and were usually stirred by economic, political, social and environmental factors.
“The drive to search for alternative source of livelihood serves as a pull factor for the youth especially, to migrate through irregular means to engage in menial jobs in North Africa and Europe,” he said.
Irregular migration, the President said, had become a thorny issue which various countries were grappling with, adding that it posed multiple challenges to their countries of origin, transit and destination, as well as to the migrants themselves.
Reports from Italy, he indicated had it that 6,736 people arrived there since the beginning of the year, noting that the Italian Navy and Coast Guards rescued more than 700 migrants from six boats off the coast of Libya, with four dead.
The Migration Policy, he said, would help address the existing gaps in the management of migration and the protection of the rights of all migrants in the country.
The policy also sought to promote and protect the interest, rights, security and welfare of citizens and migrants within and outside Ghana.
It would also create the enabling environment for national and global migration dialogue while promoting comprehensive and sustainable approach to migration management.
The Chief of Mission of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) to Ghana. Sylvia Lopez-Ekra said the adoption of the policy by Ghana was timely as young women and men were entrusting their future to unscrupulous agents who lure them abroad with promises of well-paid jobs.
She said Ghana has equipped itself with a strong supportive framework with the advent of the policy to ensure that the country responded to migration challenges of the century in a manner that was economically, socially and environmentally sustainable.
“There is now a set of core policy principles that will guide migration management both when it comes to internal migration and international migration”, she said.
She stated that last year recorded exceptionally high numbers of arrivals to Europe with close to 4,500 Ghanaians who arrived in Italy.
The Chairman for the function, Fritz Baffour, said with the operationalisation of the ECOWAS protocol on free movement citizens, goods and services had literally added a new twist to the migration challenges.
He stated that due to the borderless sub-region, Ghana was increasingly playing host to various other nationals, disposition and that some refugee situations were becoming protracted causing people to migrate.
By Francis Asamoah Tuffou & Anna Hoevermann