The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, is urging Heads of diplomatic missions in Ghana to facilitate the national effort to curb the maltreatment of labour migrants in their various countries, particularly in the Gulf Region.
She says the support of the various missions will facilitate ongoing efforts to address the menace.
Ms Botchwey, who signed an engagement with the diplomats from Asia, the Pacific and the Middle-Eastern countries in Accra yesterday said the government was determined to protect its citizens abroad.
The meeting was the third in a series of diplomatic interactive sessions to dialogue on how to strengthen and advance relations with all foreign missions and their respective countries.
Ms Botchwey’s appeal is underpinned by recent reports on how some Ghanaian domestic workers in the Gulf Cooperation Council (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Oman), commonly called the Gulf States, are being abused.
“Our objective is to use diplomacy to give enhanced protection to our citizens abroad; and these issues need to be stressed as we continue to receive reports of abuse of our citizens who are recruited by job agents to work in some Gulf States,” she stated.
The Foreign Minister said the issue needed to be confronted openly in an honest and contrite manner, and not only to be condemned.
She said practical and urgent steps, such as ensuring that those found culpable were made to face the legal consequences, to serve as a deterrent to others, had become crucial.
Ms Botchwey also called for their cooperation to leverage the goodwill, democratic credentials and respect for the various countries to attract more development and business partners to propel mutual economic growth.
To address the alarming rate at which Ghanaian labour migrants were being maltreated abroad, the state set up an inter-ministerial task force to crack down on illegal recruitment agencies which exported young females to Arab countries as house helps, only for them to be maltreated and sometimes killed.
The task force, includes the ministers of Foreign Affairs, the Interior, Labour and Employment, also had, as one of its core duties, to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Arab countries which made use of the house helps to treat them with dignity.
AMinister of Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu, reiterated his call on the diplomats to collaborate effectively with the government to end the menace of illegal mining, popularly known as galamsey, in the country.
Mr Amewu urged the diplomats to educate and sensitise their citizens to the laws of the country and ensure that they conducted their businesses in accordance with the laws of Ghana.