Mr Akwasi Osei-Adjei, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Cooperation and NEPAD on Saturday urged the global consular community to loosen harsh consular regulations that erected barriers against immigration.
“This is how you can make an immense contribution to the removal of racism and xenophobia which are fast transforming some communities into hostile and pugnacious environments that repel foreigners,” the Minister said.
He said the spirit of solidarity that should exist between the travellers and consuls was waning because of migration laws and the stringent conditions of obtaining visas.
Mr Osei-Adjei made the call in Accra in a statement read on his behalf at the inauguration of the African bloc of the World Federation of Consuls, popularly known as FICAC to strengthen Africa's presence in the global network.
About 50 consuls from around the globe convened in the capital to attend the first FICAC African Regional Conference under the theme: “The Role of the Honorary Consuls in the Global Village”.
Mr Osei-Adjei said countries had now become “impenetrable fortresses” to keep out immigrants due to the fight against international terrorism and the assumption that immigrants were to blame for all ills and crimes in host countries.
“In this age of communication technology, applicants are sometimes required to produce stamped envelopes which contained their letter of invitation that arrived from abroad, some are also required to show travel experience, as if no one travelled for the first time in real life experience,” he added.
Mr Osei-Adjei therefore entreated the consuls to reflect on the extent to which they had deliberately or unwittingly played roles in driving many young people to embark on hazardous journeys of no return, due to stringent immigration laws.
He reminded them that they were actors for harmonising countries and called for innovative ways to facilitate movement in the global village.
Arnold Foote, FICAC President challenged the consuls to help promote international trade relations between their countries and host countries saying the future lies in the development of fair trade in this region and the world.
He also entreated them to desist from any political activities and attempts to discriminate on the grounds of race, creed or colour.
Mr Amarkai Amarteifio, Ghana's Consul-General to Sweden, who doubles as the Dean of the Honorary Consular Corps in Ghana and Vice President of FICAC, told the consuls to explore investment opportunities in Ghana.
He said Ghana was on the threshold of economic transformation and urged them to position themselves for the country's emerging oil industry through the consideration of their countries' mutual benefits.
FICAC was established in 1982 to promote mutual respect and adherence to the principles of the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.