The Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa says the Minority is likely to haul before Parliament, the US Ambassador to Ghana, Robert Jackson over unresolved concerns about the treatment of Ghanaian deportees.
Mr Ablakwa added that the Minister of Foreign Affairs will also be summoned over plans to restrict visas to Ghanaians following the failure of government to issue travel documents to some purported Ghanaian nationals awaiting deportation from the US.
He said this is to allow the Foreign Affairs Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway and Robert Jackson to brief the House on the developments.
â€œCertainly the Minority in Parliament will in the coming days request that the Foreign Minister apprise Parliament on these developments. The Foreign Affairs Committee may also consider a second invitation to the U.S. Ambassador seeing that the related issue about the alleged dehumanizing mode of deportation when the Ambassador last appeared before us remains largely unresolved,â€ he stated in a Facebook post.
The United States (US) government had threatened to impose visa restrictions on Ghanaians if the Ghana government fails to comply with international obligations regarding the issuance of travel documents to Ghanaians awaiting deportation in the US.
According to a statement issued Wednesday by the US Embassy in Accra, the US will be forced to begin implementing the visa restrictions in accordance with U.S. law as a responsibility owed to the American people.
The Ambassador subsequently clarified that the statement was not a threat to the Ghanaian government.
But Ablakwa, who is also a member of the Parliamentâ€™s Foreign Affairs Committee, described the Embassyâ€™s statement as â€œcurious.â€
â€œHoping that the recent demonstrations and fierce resistance by Ghanaians to the Ghana-US Defence Cooperation Agreement is not a precipitating factor for this hard-line stance,â€ he remarked.
We canâ€™t rush travel documents for illegal US migrants
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, last Friday, explained that it cannot be rushed to issue travel documents to illegal migrants in the US without carrying out â€œdue diligence.â€
The Ministry, however, said it remained committed to ensuring that all challenges are resolved.
â€œThe Ministry wishes to place on record that it continues to engage its missions in the United States of America on the matter, and has already communicated their concerns to the US Embassy in Ghana about the need to do due diligence and establish the nationality of the deportees before they are issued with travel documents,â€ the Ministry said in a statement.
Below is Okudzeto Ablakwaâ€™s full statement:
Seen the June 20, 2018 United States Embassy statement which criticised Ghana for allegedly reneging on its ICAO obligations under the U.S. programmed mass deportation of Ghanaians and the consequential threat of visa restrictions on Ghana.
The tone and seemingly hostile approach is not only regrettable but curious.
Hoping that the recent demonstrations and fierce resistance by Ghanaians to the Ghana-US Defence Cooperation Agreement is not a precipitating factor for this hard-line stance.
Be that as it may, while sovereign nations reserve the right to remove persons from their jurisdictions, sovereign nations also owe duties and responsibilities to their citizens especially under Article 5 of the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. Without holding brief for the Akufo-Addo Government, it cannot be expected therefore that our missions in Washington DC and New York will at once issue travel documents for the wholesale deportation of thousands of Ghanaians on the strict orders of the US without the necessary due diligence and consular assistance. Questions about true nationality, alleged offences and the rights of accused persons to be heard among other considerations will surely require a fair amount of time. All countries including the United States are conversant with these traditions and conventions.
We must continue to cherish and deepen our longstanding bilateral relations with the U.S., however, we are not unaware of the current difficulties involved in forging understandings and partnerships on important issues with the U.S. under President Trump considering the fate of even the staunchest allies of the US in this era of Trump-inspired isolationism.
It is striking that this announcement on Ghana came the same week the U.S. withdrew its membership from the United Nations Human Rights Council and has faced both internal and external condemnation over its policy that as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights puts it â€“ â€œunconscionably separates migrant children from their parents at the U.S.- Mexico border.â€
Certainly, the Minority in Parliament will in the coming days request that the Foreign Minister apprise Parliament on these developments. The Foreign Affairs Committee may also consider a second invitation to the U.S. Ambassador seeing that the related issue about the alleged dehumanizing mode of deportation when the Ambassador last appeared before us remains largely unresolved.
Hopefully, sooner than later; we will all learn to show greater care to each other and commit to living together in a fair and just world no matter the sacrifices that may be required.
Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa (MP)
Ranking Member, Parliamentâ€™s Foreign Affairs Committee.