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General News of Wednesday, 25 October 2017


Ghana can retaliate against unfair visa treatment – Haruna Iddrisu

Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, has warned that Ghana can retaliate in equal measure to the inhumane treatment meted out to Ghanaian visa applicants, which include Members of Parliament and Ministers of State by foreign embassies.

According to him, if foreign embassies will not show Ghanaian visa applicants respect, then Ghana does not also owe them any respect.

Mr Iddrisu said this on the floor of Parliament on Wednesday, 25 October, 2017 while contributing to a statement read by MP for North Tongu, Okudzeto Ablakwa, on the inhumane treatment meted out to Ghanaian visa applicants.

Mr Iddrisu wondered why MP’s are even subjected to unfair treatment by the embassies during visa acquisition and also admonished the MPs not to abuse the visa application process to earn the respect of the embassies.

He said: “Even Members of Parliament who have a decent job, a job of a Member of Parliament, you want to travel and you are subjected to some rigorous process like your privileges and immunity have been withdrawn, but what do we need those countries for? What are we travelling to London or New York for? Certainly for purpose of maybe a conference or others, but must we be subjected even to a strict treatment as an honourable Members of Parliament because you want a visa to travel?

“The same USA and the same Switzerland says that UN agencies are in their countries, therefore, when the UN agencies have meetings to discuss matters that concern and affect us, we are obliged to participate in them. We should respect international law and the way to deal with it.

“Mr Speaker, again our Minister of Foreign Affairs, where is the privilege of a Member of Parliament? But to MPs too, who much is given, much is expected. We should stop the abuses of the processes. Members of Parliament must stop the abuses of the privileges and processes so that they will treat us with honour …

“Foreign embassies must simplify their visa requirement, they must treat applicants with honour, dignity and if you go through the process and you are denied, they must return your money to you…

“Mr Speaker, we have a reciprocal right within the ambit of foreign policy to retaliate some of the measures they give to our Ministers and Members of Parliament, and if they want to treat us with honour, we will treat them with honour, but if they will not respect us, then we don’t owe them any respect.”

Meanwhile, Speaker of Parliament, Prof Mike Oquaye, has tasked the Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament to visit selected embassies to ascertain for themselves, the reality on the ground and advice the House accordingly.