Ghana: US, UK issue warnings over election-related violence

The United States and United Kingdom have both issued statements saying they will consider revoking or denying visas to Ghanaians who engage in political violence in the lead-up to the country’s Dec. 7 election.

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Key points:

  • The U.S. Embassy in Ghana released a statement this week stating, “The United States will consider all options to hold responsible those who incite political violence, including denying or revoking visas.”
  • In a similar statement, the British High Commission, Accra, said, “The UK reserves the right to take action against anyone engaging in or inciting political violence, including considering refusing or revoking visas.”
  • Foreign nationals in Ghana may wish to monitor local media and their home country’s embassy websites if election-related violence continues. Delays in immigration services should be expected in the weeks before and after the Dec. 7 election.

Background: The U.S. and U.K. statements did not make reference to specific incidents, but they were issued after clashes between supporters of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP), the two leading political parties, outside the home of a prominent NPP political figure. The U.S. and U.K. both made clear that they are not supporting any political party over another and are striving to remain neutral while supporting a free election.

B·A·L Analysis: The statements from the U.S. and U.K. are notable not just for the potential immigration consequences, but also as a sign of how the international community might try to use immigration as a way to influence domestic election processes in Africa and elsewhere. Foreign nationals in Ghana may wish to review their security situations, and those in need of immigration services should anticipate delays in processing through December.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact BerryApplemanLeiden@balglobal.com.

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