UNHCR Ghana calls on Government to accede to UN Conventions on Statelessness

Accra, 20 June 2018 – The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Ghana office and the Ghana Refugee Board (GRB) have called on the Government to develop the legal pathways for local integration of protracted refugees in the country and accede to the two UN Conventions on Statelessness.  The call was contained in a statement read in Parliament by a Member of Parliament of Ningo-Prampram, Hon. Samuel Nartey George, as part of commemorative events to mark World Refugee Day in Accra.

Minister of Information addressing the audience

At a ceremony held in Accra in commemoration of the Day, the UN Resident Coordinator, Ms. Christine Evans-Klock commended Ghana’s efforts at meeting the needs of refugees over the past years.  The Chairman of the GRB, Professor Kenneth Attafuah reiterated the need to recognise the opportunities that refugees bring to their host countries. The Minister of Information, Hon. Mustapha Abdul-Hamid shared his personal life experience growing up as a son of a refugee.  He noted that “we must realise that refugee situations are real and it could happen to anyone”.

eShun performing

There was a presentation by High Level Influencer (HLI) Kwame Amfo-Akonnor, calling for support for refugees under the LuQuLuQu campaign.  HLI eShun, a Ghanaian singer also added her voice to the call in a performance dedicated to the stateless.

1st Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin Annual Lecture & Essay Competition

Accra 4 June 2018 – Entries are invited for the First Professor Babatunde Osotimehin Annual Essay Competition (PBOC). In honour of the life, times and work of the late professor of clinical pathology, former Nigerian Minister of Health and Executive Director of UNFPA between 2011 and 2017, young people are invited to submit entries on the theme- “Comprehensive Sexuality Education for the Adolescent Girl in Ghana”.

The essay competition seeks to enrich conversation and research on the continual and untiring quest for brilliant solutions as a means to drive the much desired demographic dividends. Top 10 essay entries from the competition will be compiled into an anthology and launched during the award ceremony, which will be held in Accra in the margins of the African Girls Summit scheduled for August 2018.

Prizes will be awarded to three individuals with the most outstanding essays.

  • Winner will be awarded the sum of Five Thousand Ghana Cedis and a sponsored trip to attend the Family Planning Conference in Rwanda later this year.
  • First Runner up will be awarded the sum of Three Thousand Ghana Cedis and an iPad.
  • Second Runner up will be awarded the sum of Two Thousand Ghana Cedis, and a Smart Phone.

Read further for the guidelines for essay entries. 

UNIC Accra Launches UNCTAD’s EDA Report 2018

Accra, 31 May 2018 – This year’s Economic Development in Africa report has reinforced the argument that migration is not necessarily a bad thing.  The report affirms the potential of migration, if properly managed, to transform Africa’s economy.  It argues that intra-African migration is a catalyst for economic growth and structural transformation and further suggests that, besides contributing to economic growth, safe and orderly migration, can contribute significantly to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and Africa’s agenda 2063.

Eric Akomanyi [L], Philip Cobbina [M], Cynthia Prah of UNIC Accra [M] and Sylvester Kartey [R]

The EDA Report 2018 was launched in Accra on May 31 by the UN Information Centre.

Presenting the report, a Lecturer from the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), Mr. Philip Cobbina said, it is important that African countries take such reports seriously and situate findings of the EDA Report into their local context.  He said by so doing, “we shall be able to identify how migration can impact us specifically”.  According to Mr. Cobbina, who is also a Managing Director of CICADA Consulting Limited, once such reports are launched, it is up to the responsible government, in this case the Ministry of Interior, to take the report and begin working with it to validate the findings within the local context.

Mr. Akomanyi making his presentation

A Project Assistant at the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) country office, Mr. Eric Akomanyi noted that the relationship between migration and development has long been established by the IOM and for which reason it welcomes the release of the report by the UN Conference of Trade and Development (UNCTAD). Mr. Akomanyi highlighted a number of areas in which the IOM is working in support of the country’s development agenda as far as migration is concerned. These areas include a 2017 baseline assessment of remittances and the ensuing work to address identified challenges in the sector, the “Connecting the Diaspora for Development” project to facilitate knowledge and skills transfer to Ghana and, IOM’s role in the process to ensure the development of a Labour Migration Policy for Ghana.

Representing the Minister for the Interior, a Deputy Director of the Ministry, Mr. Sylvester Kartey, commended UNCTAD for the report and noted that the findings would be studied by the Ministry to inform its work on migration.

 

 

Ghana Observes 70 Years of UN Peacekeeping

Accra, 29 May 2018 –  The 70th anniversary of the International day of UN Peacekeepers was observed in Ghana with two major events.  The first was a high-level dialogue on the anniversary theme: “United Nations Peacekeepers: 70 Years of Service and Sacrifice”. The dialogue brought together former UN staff who shared with an audience of about 300, their experiences during their service as peacekeepers.  For the first time since his retirement from active service, the First Force Commander of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), General Emmanuel Erskine, was invited via Skype to join in the conversation. With a commanding and strong voice, as if in active service, General Erskine recounted his active service.  He had one message for all UN Peacekeepers and aspirants: “It is imperative to respect the cultures and religion of indigenous population you meet”. He commended the organisers of the event and

A cross section of the audience at the Dialogue

the UN for recognizing and celebrating the #ServiceAndSacrifice of peacekeepers. Other panel members included Major General Henry Anyidoho former Deputy Force Commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR) and Deputy Joint Special Representative for the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) and Prof. Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu, former Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General for the Rule of Law in the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).

Ms Evans-Klock laying a wreath on behalf of Fallen Peacekeepers

On May 29, a flag-raising and wreath-laying ceremony was held in honour of Ghanaian Peacekeepers all over the world and in remembrance of those who have lost their lives in the cause of peace. The UN Resident Coordinator in Ghana, Ms. Christine Evans-Klock acknowledged Ghana’s commitment to UN peacekeeping efforts.

Hon. Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey

For her part, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ms. Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, said the Government will take swift punitive measures against any Ghanaian UN peacekeeper who is proven to have misconducted him/herself in the line of duty, adding that “Government takes a serious view to issues of SEA in UN peacekeeping operations.”

A photo exhibition on “UN Peacekeeping:  70 Years of Service and Sacrifice” to mark the 2018 International Day of UN Peacekeepers” was mounted at both events.

IOM Ghana launches campaign against irregular migration with Kofi Kinaata

Accra, Ghana, 7 May 2018 – IOM Ghana has launched a campaign to raise awareness on the dangers of irregular migration. The 3-day campaign targets young people in the Western Region, one of the main areas of origin for Ghanaian returnees from Libya.  The campaign song, No Place Like Home, is by Kofi Kinaata, IOM Ghana’s Goodwill Ambassador on Safe Migration. It promises to be a hit and expected to have a good impact to discourage the youth from migrating through irregular means.

Kofi Kinaata

The song and video, available on YouTube (https://youtu.be/oFukHyBS1YU), encourages the youth to be critical about migration and do so in a regular manner. Drawing inspiration for the song from personal experiences of friends from Takoradi who have migrated irregularly as well as from a recent trip to the Brong Ahafo Region where he accompanied IOM on a sensitization tour, the Ghanaian rapper warns of the dangers of irregular migration.

In 2016 alone, 5,636 Ghanaian migrants arrived in Italy by sea, an increase from 4,431 in 2015. Most Ghanaians trying to reach Europe travel through Libya, where currently tens of thousands of the estimated 700,000 migrants living in the country suffer horrendous human rights abuses. Since June 2017, under the EU-IOM Joint Initiative on Migrant Protection and Reintegration in Ghana, IOM has supported the return of 496 Ghanaians from Libya, and is in the process of facilitating their reintegration in their communities of return.

Awareness raising sessions were carried out with communities in Takoradi, New Takoradi and Sekondi in the Western Region through community events, focus group discussions and radio talk shows. As a Goodwill Ambassador on Safe Migration, Kofi Kinaata accompanied IOM Ghana staff, Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) officers and members of the European Union Delegation to Ghana to his alma mater, Takoradi Technical Institute (TTI) to speak to the students on the dangers of irregular migration and the importance of making informed decisions.

The Ghanaian rapper and songwriter was appointed the UN Migration Agency’s first Goodwill Ambassador in November 2017 to promote safe migration in Ghana. As an Ambassador, through the song, but also through direct engagement with communities and youth, Kinaata will support the Agency’s awareness raising campaigns.

The development of the song and video No Place Like Home was supported by the German Federal Foreign Office under the project Aware Migrants – Engaging Communities in West Africa.

 #Safemigration    #SayNoToIrregularMigration    #NoPlaceLikeHome

Taking action where we can to stop cybercrime

April 30, 2018 – Cyber. It is the inescapable prefix defining our world today. From the privacy of individuals to relations between states, cyber dominates discussions and headlines – so much so that we risk being paralyzed by the magnitude of the problems we face.

Yury Fedotov, Executive Director, UNODC

But we would do well to keep in mind that despite the many outstanding questions on the future of cybersecurity and governance, international cooperation is essential to tackle the ever-growing threats of cybercrime.

Online exploitation and abuse of children. Darknet markets for illicit drugs and firearms. Ransomware attacks. Human traffickers using social media to lure victims. Cybercrime’s unprecedented reach – across all borders, into our homes and schools, businesses, hospitals and other vital service providers – only amplifies the threats.

A recent estimate put the global cost of cybercrime at 600 billion US dollars. The damage done to sustainable development and safety, to gender equality and protection –women and girls are disproportionately harmed by online sexual abuse – is immense.

Keeping people safer online is an enormous task and no one entity or government has the perfect solution. But there is much we can do, and need to do more of, to strengthen prevention and improve responses to cybercrime, namely:

  • Build up capabilities, most of all law enforcement, to shore up gaps, particularly in developing countries; and
  • Strengthen international cooperation and dialogue – between governments, the United Nations, other international as well as regional organizations, INTERPOL and the many other partners, including business and civil society, with a stake in stopping cybercrime.

Cyber-dependent crime, including malware proliferation, ransomware and hacking; cyber-enabled crime, for example email phishing to steal financial data; and online child sexual exploitation and abuse all have something in common besides the “cyber” aspect: they are crimes.

Continue reading

UNDP Ghana refutes reports of flat in Cantonment

Accra, 18 April 2018 – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has issued a statement refuting news reports that it owns a flat in Cantonment, Accra. The statement follows news report in the local media of a flat referred to as “UNDP Flat” which has reportedly been taken over by some occupants.  The statement notes that the said flat does not belong to the UNDP and the UNDP has not hired any contractor to redevelop it.

Ghana must prioritise social protection to achieve Sustainable Development Goals, says UN poverty expert

GENEVA (18 April 2018) – A UN human rights expert has commended Ghana as a champion of African democracy and a country which has achieved some important development milestones. But says unless growing inequality and continuing high poverty rates are addressed the country will fall far short of meeting the key UN Sustainable Development Goals, including the eradication of extreme poverty by 2030.

Mr. Philip Alston

“Ghana is at a crossroads and must now decide whether to continue existing policies that will further enrich the wealthy and do little for the poor, or to make fiscal adjustments that would lift millions out of poverty and bring them into the agricultural economy in ways that would contribute significantly to economic growth,” said the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty, Philip Alston, at the end of a 10-day fact-finding mission to the Greater Accra, Northern, and Upper East regions.

“The benefits of record levels of economic growth experienced over the past decade have gone overwhelmingly to the wealthy, and inequality is higher than it has ever been in Ghana,” said Mr. Alston, who examines the human rights implications of poverty in countries around the world.

The most recent official data from the Ghana Statistical Service for 2012-2013 revealed that almost one-quarter of the population were living in poverty and one person in every 12 in extreme poverty. Three-and-a-half million of those in poverty are children, with more than a third of them in extreme poverty.

“Spending on social protection is surprisingly low by the standards of most comparable African countries, and very little is spent on social assistance,” explained Mr. Alston.

“With a thriving economy and the option to start collecting some of the existing but unpaid taxes that currently exist, choosing to eliminate, or not to eliminate, extreme poverty is a political choice for Ghana,” the UN expert said.

The Special Rapporteur continued: “Ghanaian politicians are immensely fond of, and very good at, creating slogans to describe complex but appealing programmes.  But there is little doubt that the appetite for such slogans has already far outrun the capacity for realistic implementation.”

“The challenge going forward is for the Government to choose its real priorities, make sure that social protection is among them, and to be more transparent about potential costs and possible funding sources,” Mr. Alston stressed.

The Special Rapporteur today presented his preliminary findings at a press briefing in Accra.  His final report on his visit to Ghana will be presented to the upcoming session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva in June 2018. Continue reading

UNIFIL, Lebanese Army pay last respect to Ghanaian fallen UNIFIL peacekeeper Corporal Mercy Adade

UNIFIL, 11 April 2018 – UNIFIL and the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) today paid last respects with full honours to Corporal Mercy Adade of the Ghanaian Contingent, who passed away at the age of 36 in the early morning of 5 April following short illness. Cpl. Adade is survived by a son.

Senior UNIFIL officials, including Deputy Force Commander, Major General Shivaram Kharel, LAF Commander’s representative Brigadier General Hasan Haider and fellow UNIFIL peacekeepers assembled at the tarmac of the Rafic Hariri International Airport in Beirut to honour the peacekeeper.

Major General Kharel, Brigadier General Haider and UNIFIL’s Sector West Commander, Brigadier General Rodolfo Sganga, laid a wreath at the airport in memory of late Cpl. Adade, whose body was flown back to Ghana today.

In his remarks at the solemn ceremony, Major General Kharel – representing UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander Major General Michael Beary – said words cannot express the pain and sorrow at the loss of one of its peacekeepers.

“On this day, we remember Mercy and the thousands of peacekeepers around the world who have lost their lives in the quest for lasting peace,” he said. “The people of Lebanon and UNIFIL are grateful to Mercy for all her sacrifices. We must all strive to work for peace in memory of all our colleagues who did not make it.”

At the ceremony, Cpl. Adade was honoured posthumously with UNIFIL and LAF Medals.

“We honour her selflessness, bravery and service to the United Nations, Lebanon and Ghana,” said Major General Kharel. “Although she is no longer with us, her legacy will live on.”

Cpl. Adade was a dedicated, hardworking and professional soldier who served in the Ghana Army for about 11 years. Her journey as a peacekeeper began in Côte d’Ivoire about eight years ago and she fought to keep the flag of peace flying right until the end. She was deployed as a medical clerk to UNIFIL on 22 June 2017 for a one-year tour.

“Her loss has left a void in the Ghanaian Battalion and the Ghana Armed Forces that cannot be filled,” said the Commanding Officer of the Battalion, Lieutenant Colonel William Nortey. “Cpl. Mercy had been the pride of Ghana and was a role model to follow in a UN Peacekeeping operation.”

Since UNIFIL’s establishment in 1978, over 300 peacekeepers have died while serving for peace in south Lebanon.

Article: Tilak Pokharel
Stills: Mohamad Hamze

https://unifil.unmissions.org/unifil-lebanese-army-pay-last-respects-fallen-unifil-peacekeeper-ghana

UN expert on extreme poverty to visit Ghana from April 9-18

GENEVA (3 April 2018) – The UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, will visit Ghana from 9 to 18 April 2018 to examine the government’s efforts to address poverty through the lens of international human rights law.

“It is widely recognised that Ghana has made great strides in poverty eradication over the past two decades, but government statistics indicate that poverty is still prevalent and inequality is on the rise,” said the human rights expert.

Philip Alston

“This is a critical time in Ghana’s history, as the macroeconomic turbulence of the past few years is beginning to stabilise and the country is seeking its own development path. It will be important for the government to address the rising inequality and keep human rights at the centre of its policies, if the country’s longer-term development goals are to be achieved.”

Alston will meet with government officials, civil society organisations, academic experts, and people living in poverty to address a range of issues. These include the specific challenges of urban and rural poverty, the extent and efficacy of the government’s social protection programmes, the ways in which those who are not wealthy fare in the criminal justice system, and the experiences of vulnerable and marginalised groups such as women, children and persons with disabilities who are living in poverty.

He will visit Accra, Old Fadama, Tamale, Bolgatanga, and rural communities in the Northern and Upper East regions.  Continue reading