Summon Foreign Affairs Minister over US visa limitations – Dr Apaak to Parliament

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Thu, 21 Jun 2018 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Builsa South MP and member of Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Dr Clement Apaak has called on the house to summon Foreign Affairs Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey to answer questions on why the US government has threatened to impose visa restrictions on Ghanaian citizens.

The United States government has threatened to impose restrictions on Ghanaians because they claim the government is not complying with international obligations regarding the issuance of travel documents to Ghanaians awaiting deportation in the USA.

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 statement said, the Government of Ghana became a signatory to the Convention on International Civil Aviation which obliges Ghana through its Embassy in Washington, D.C., and its Consulate General in New York to interview deportees on a regular basis and issue the necessary travel documents.

“This helps to facilitate deportees’ departure on commercial flights. When the Government of Ghana fails to meet its ICAO obligation regarding the regular issuance of travel documents, the U.S. government is forced to employ charter flights for deportations. The Government of Ghana has the power to reduce, or even end, the use of charter flights by meeting its obligation to issue travel documents in a timely manner,” the statement said.

Speaking on the issue, Dr. Clement Apaak blamed the government for their failure to uphold its responsibility in dealing with the US, questioning why this is happening now.

According to him, “there’s no reason why the ministry could not have come out to clarify to put out a statement, government could not have come out to make a statement on this issue when Ghana’s Ambassador to the US had called to publicly complain about the pressures that the Americans were exerting on him. Did we have to wait for them to come to this level?”

Stricter US visa restrictions

In September last year, US President Donald Trump’s administration announced new visa standards, saying it will discontinue blanket bans in favour of restrictions based on factors like whether countries share information about travellers’ criminal histories or use electronic passports with embedded traveller information.

At the time, the US government said it would consider lifting restrictions on one or more countries if they “have improved their identity-management and information-sharing protocols and procedures,” according to the proclamation.

Miles Taylor, the counsellor to acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke, said: “The goal is not to indefinitely block certain nationals from coming to the United States. It is to protect Americans until foreign governments to comply with our standards and no longer pose a risk.”

“We had a range of countries, from total willful noncompliance and nonengagement to countries that maybe couldn’t meet the requirements but were interested in doing so,” Taylor said last week. “Some countries didn’t even have the courtesy to say, ‘Go fly a kite.'”

President Donald Trump also banned or restricted visas for travel to the United States from eight countries. The presidential restricted visas from six countries — Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen — and lifted restrictions on visitors from Sudan. It added new restrictions on visitors and immigrants from Chad, North Korea and Venezuela.

The order also blocked visas for government officials on business or tourist travel from Venezuela. For Somalia, the order blocked visas for immigrants and provided that other travellers will be subject to extra scrutiny.

Source: www.ghanaweb.com
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