Government lauded for sticking to Refuge Policy

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Refuge Policy
Refuge Policy
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Ms Esther Kiragu, Country Representative for UNHCR, has lauded the government for maintaining a progressive asylum policy even during the COVID-19 pandemic.

She also appreciated the proactiveness not just in providing international protection to those fleeing persecution, but also people in search for durable solutions.

“Coming back home to Ghana, Ghana has done very well in this area and has a rich tradition of hosting refugees that spans decades.

Many former refugees have returned home in safety and dignity including in the recent past to Sierra Leone and Liberia. About granting access to those seeking asylum, even during the COVID-19 pandemic when borders were closed, Ghana gave access to those fleeing persecution.

The Country Representative said this during the celebration of this year’s World Refugee Day at Ampain, the largest camp for refugees in Ellembelle District of the Western Region.

Ms Kiragu noted that everyone had the right to seek safety, saying, “whoever they are, wherever they come from, and whenever they are forced to flee.”

She was grateful to the government of Ghana for providing vaccines, health coverage and access to education adding, ” these are outstanding examples of the progressiveness of the asylum regime in Ghana”.

World Refugee Day resonates with the resilience, courage, and strength of the millions of people around the world who had been forced to flee their homes due to violence, war, or persecution.

The UNHCR provides unwavering support throughout the refugee cycle from displacement to when durable solutions were actualized.

This year alone, the war in Ukraine has resulted in more than six million Ukrainians being displaced within their country and more than six million refugees fleeing across international borders.

These increased numbers are because of new conflicts, or re-eruption of old ones such as the one in Eastern DRC, or ongoing unresolved conflicts.

This year alone, 2000 Ivorians have been supported to return voluntarily and many others have requested for the same support, while a few have sought alternative status to stay on as migrants in Ghana, not refugees.

Mr Ambrose Dery, the Minister for the Interior, said so far in 2022 alone, over 1,800 Ivorians have taken advantage of assisted return programme.

The Minister added that the Government, through the Ghana Refugee Board, would continue to support UNHCR in the implementation of livelihood activities, adding, “I am reliably informed that there are many success stories in this regard. It is important that such success stories are projected to serve as good examples to all.”

The Minister said, Ghana has since independence, proven to be a haven for persons fleeing territories where they feared they would be persecuted and played hosts to refugees from over 35 different countries and appreciated their good conduct.

“We continue to live up to our responsibilities as spelt out in the UN Convention on the Status of Refugees as well as the 1969 AU Convention on Refugees which we have signed up to. Ghana manages what has been referred to as a progressive asylum system that does not require all refugees to stay in camps and provides opportunities for refugees to develop their potential,” he added.

Accordingly, the Government, working with partners in refugee management, has ensured that refugees have access to education, health and other social services and the development of refugees secured to the benefit of society.

Mr Dery said while the Government strived to ensure that refugees go about their lives in safety and in dignity, it does not lose sight of its foremost responsibility of guaranteeing the security of the State.

“We, therefore, insist that persons seeking asylum in Ghana, as a matter of necessity, abide by the laws of the land. On this, there is no compromise,” he stressed.

He added that the asylum space would be guarded to ensure that it was not used as a conduit for perpetrating any undesirable activities.

The Interior Minister said Ghana shall continue to fulfill the obligations to ensure that refugees returned home in safety and in dignity.

Mr Basse Patricie, one of the community leaders at the camp, urged the government to respond to some issues of concerns including returning and migrants status among other things.

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