Call for institutions to ensure refugee rights
Interior Minister, Hon. Ambrose Dery has reiterated government’s total commitment in ensuring Ghana continues to adhere to her international obligations towards protecting the rights of refugees.
“Refugee protection is not a matter of charity but an international obligation under the 1951 Refugee Convention and other binding regional instruments, and Ghana is committed to making good her obligations under these Conventions and Protocols” Mr. Dery
He called on key institutions managing refugees in Ghana- the Ghana Refugee Board and the Ghana Immigration Service- to continue to collaborate to ensure that the rights of asylum seekers and refugees as well as the security of the State are not compromised.
Mr. Dery said this at the opening of a 2-day High Level Dialogue on the protection of refugees in international and Ghana law organized by UNHCR, UN Refugee Agency in Ghana in collaboration with the Ghana Refugee Board and the Ghana Immigration Service. The dialogue was aimed at fostering cooperation among partners in refugee protection.
Hon. Dery also lauded UNHCR for the massive infrastructural support in the various refugee hosting areas. UNHCR in 2020 alone completed numerous infrastructural projects including schools, hospitals, police stations, markets, infectious disease isolation centers among others valued at over over 7 million cedis. “These projects are not for exclusive use of refugees. Many of them are located within the host communities for the benefit of both refugees and host communities. This is indeed commendable” the Minister added.
UNHCR Country Representative, Ms. Esther Kiragu thanked the government for a progressive asylum system in Ghana adding that UNHCR stands ready to support government to protect refugees and asylum seekers. She noted the key role partners play in terms of refugee protection in Ghana and highlighted the need for front-line officials to be adequately informed to avoid the situation were bona-fide asylum seekers are returned to the danger they are fleeing from.
“People flee; they come traumatized. They come without documents; they are tired by the time they get to the borders. We expect the front-liners who receive them to understand their situation” Ms. Kiragu
Mr. Charles Paul Abani, UN Resident Coordinator in Ghana on his part noted that human rights are at the core of the work of the United Nations and those human rights commitments include the rights of refugees. He commended Ghana for the progress made so far with the integration of refugees into national services such as health and education. He said the UN is in solidarity with Ghana and supports development efforts in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for all its residents including refugees in Ghana.
Comptroller General of the Ghana Immigration Service, Mr. Kwame Asuah Takyi noted refugee numbers are increasing globally due to numerous wars and conflicts and there is the need to build capacity of front-line officers. He pledged the commitment of the Ghana Immigration Service to work with UNHCR and other key partners.
The occasion was also used to launch the Ghana Refugee Board Legal Manual, a compilation of relevant International and Local laws on the protection of Refugees, applicable laws relating to citizenship control and immigration and children related laws.