West Africa’s complex migration situation requires holistic solution: IOM official

West Africa’s complex migration situation requires holistic solution: IOM official

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The complex nature of migration in the West African sub-region requires a holistic approach to derive benefits for the sub-region, Sylvia Lopez-Ekra, Chief of Mission at International Organization for Migration (IOM) Ghana, said here on Wednesday.

In her message during the launch of a media training and public sensitization on the Free Movement and Migrant Rights in the sub-region, Lopez-Ekra urged that specific attention be paid to those migrants in vulnerable situations, including women, children, elderly, victims of trafficking and migrants in conflict situations.

“As we all know, the West African sub-region has always experienced complex migration flows; it is a region that has long witnessed population flows driven by employment opportunities and availability of natural resources. Such complex flows require a holistic approach if the benefits of migration are to be harnessed for development,” she stressed.

According to available statistics, about 60 percent of Ghanaians abroad live in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) sub-region, while Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) says that about 201,252 ECOWAS nationals live in Ghana permanently.

“Just as the world has been witnessing unprecedented movement, similarly there has been an increase in anti-migrant and xenophobic rhetorics. As such it is also crucial that we focus on eliminating discrimination, racism, xenophobia and highlight the contribution of migrants to societies,” the IOM Chief of Mission in Ghana urged.

She added that it is only when “we are able to secure migrant workers’ rights, ensure adequate labor standards and protect migrants from abuses, exploitation and human trafficking that will we truly realize the objectives of the ECOWAS protocol relating to Free Movement.”

Launching the project, Mustapha Hamid, Minister for Information, reiterated the resolve of the government of Ghana to continue to pursue a clearly defined holistic policy direction on migration in order to enable the country derive optimum benefits from the positive aspects and minimize the negative consequences of migration. Enditem

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