The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration has refuted claims by the United States of America government that it is not cooperating on the deportation of Ghanaians from the US, which has led to visa sanctions being placed on some Ghanaian citizens.
In the government’s first official response on the matter, it expressed concern and disappointment with the development and said such allegations were “unfounded.”
The ministry also said, “the sanctions imposed on Ghana are without any justification whatsoever.”
It held that it had “always cooperated with the US authorities in the processing and removal of Ghanaian citizens who have been cited for deportation.”
The US’ Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of State issued visa sanctions on Ghana citing its “lack of cooperation” in accepting its citizens ordered removed from the US.
In a statement, the US’ Homeland Security said Ghana has “denied or unreasonably delayed accepting their nationals ordered removed from the United States.”
As a result, the US temporarily placed visa restrictions on certain categories of applicants from Ghana, including domestic employees of Ghanaian diplomats posted in the US until cooperation is deemed satisfactory.
Concerns over verification
But the Ghana government has always had concerns over the verification of the purported Ghanaians earmarked for verification.
Ghana’s US embassy previously noted that the US was not providing enough documentation to show that the intended deportees were indeed Ghanaian.
“All countries undertake these processes to accept their deported citizens from all over the world and it is not peculiar to Ghana and the US,” the ministry reminded.
The ministry added that Ghana’s mission in Washington has received 28 application from the US out of which 19 have been interviewed by the embassy and 11 traveling certificates issued for their travel to Ghana.
The remaining persons are “as a result of doubts on their Ghanaian nationality, ill health and pending litigation in US courts.”
Though the US has said 7000 persons are engaged in deportation proceedings, the ministry also said: “there has not been any confirmation by the US authorities of a final court order for their removal in accordance with the US’ own laws.”
Treatment of deportees
The statement also highlighted concerns with the ill-treatment of Ghanaian citizens deported to Ghana from US, which runs contrary to international statutes.
“It is therefore surprising that the US Authorities would ignore the international protocols that need to be observed in matters of deportation and make allegations of lack of cooperation by Ghana.”
There were reports that a batch of deportees in 2017 were handcuffed and forced aboard the plane to Ghana, though the US Embassy denied that any inhumane treatment took place.
Former US ambassador to Ghana Robert Jackson was once invited by the Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament to give clarity on reported ill-treatment of deportees
The Ministry concluded by saying it would institute appropriate measures within the context of international law and bilateral relations.