Ghana's Ministry of Foreign Affairs says media reports are untrue
In what has become something of a custom, the government of Ghana has today flatly rejected media reports that it would consider hosting an offshore processing centre for asylum seekers on behalf of the UK.
Image credit: UK GovernmentThe Times had reported on Sunday that the UK government was drawing up plans to send asylum seekers to countries such as Ghana and Rwanda for processing. The Nationality and Borders Bill would allow the UK to remove asylum seekers to a safe third country whilst their claim is pending.
As has happened when similar claims were made about plans to send asylum seekers to Albania (see our earlier article here), the government of Ghana was quick to dismiss the claims as nonsense.
In a press release issued today, Ghana's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration stated:
"It has come to the attention of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration that UK newspapers this morning reported details of a document dubbed 'Operation Dead Meat', which contains, among others, a measure supposedly being drawn up by UK authorities to 'send migrants to countries such as Rwanda and Ghana for processing and resettlement'.
"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration wishes to state categorically that Ghana has not engaged with the UK on any such plan and does not intend to consider any such operation in the future.
"It is recalled in this regard that the Ministry on the 8th of September, 2021 debunked in a tweet a news item on Sky News UK about a possible Ghana interest in a partnership agreement with the UK to host deported or returned migrants of Third Countries from the UK.
"The position of the Government has not changed and the Ministry advises that any publication that implies otherwise should he ignored."
Yvette Cooper MP, Labour's Shadow Home Secretary, accused the British government of "just making stuff up to get headlines".
Similar suggestions were made last year about the possibility of Denmark and the UK sending asylum seekers to Rwanda. As we reported on EIN in August, the African Union condemned in the strongest terms possible the Danish law allowing asylum seekers to be sent abroad for processing.
The African Union said that Denmark would be abdicating its international responsibility to provide asylum and protection to those that enter its territory. It added that European proposals to essentially extend their borders to Africa were worrying, xenophobic and completely unacceptable.
The government of Rwanda said last year that whilst it had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on migration with Denmark, receiving asylum seekers for processing was not part of the MoU.
Refugee Action has an ongoing Twitter thread here listing the various countries and territories reported to be possible locations for offshoring UK asylum seekers and their subsequent denials.
In response to the article in The Times on Sunday, which also spoke of the UK calling in the military to stem the number of asylum seekers crossing the Channel, Colin Yeo of Garden Court Chambers and Free Movement said on Twitter: "Two big, important things here. Firstly, govt seems to be announcing massive increase in resources for search and rescue of refugees. Good. Secondly, govt is abandoning illegal and dangerous push back plans. Also good. The rest is fluff and nonsense."