Capacity building for front-line officers to ably manage asylum issues.
The Ghana Refugee Board (GRB), in collaboration with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, has conducted two separate training sessions in Refugee Law and International Protection for the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS). Participants for the training in Sunyani included 15 Sector Commanders and 30 frontline officers from the Upper East, Upper West, Northern Region, Savanna Region, and Bono Regions.
This was a follow-up to a previous session held in 2020, where approximately 50 officers from the Western frontiers were trained. It was also in response to a request from the participants at the recent High-Level Dialogue held in Accra in June this year which included the Minister of the Interior and the Comptroller of the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS).
Minister for the Interior, Ambrose Dery, had emphasized the need to continue to build the capacity of frontline GIS officers and other relevant officers of the government in Refugee Law and International Protection to enable them effectively discharge their legal responsibilities.
This training and others planned are targeting selected GIS officers across the country in Refugee law and International Protection with the aim of creating skilled frontline officers who can better manage asylum issues with the appropriate protection interventions while striving to mainstream protection in its regular screening procedures. Asylum seekers often present histories of violence and trauma from the places they fled, and GIS frontline officers have to be able to effectively identify bona fide asylum seekers among other migrants and provide the necessary referral services to GRB and other service providers as well as UNHCR.
The training sessions facilitated by GRB and UNHCR reinforced knowledge and supported officers in identifying individuals in need of international protection. It imparted specific information on the international and national laws relating to refugees as well as other relevant standards for screening and admitting asylum seekers at the border.
In his opening remarks to commence the training, the Regional Immigration Commander in Sunyani, DCOI Eric Afari stated that refugee management by its nature is a cross-cutting matter requiring the cooperation of multiple agencies with the GRB as the lead agency and the support of UNHCR and other allied agencies including the Ghana Police, National Intelligence Bureau, NADMO etc. He further stressed that the management of migration is a core mandate of GIS and that Refugee issues are an inherent component; adding that the GIS involvement is critical at all stages of the refugee cycle, right from the point of admission into Ghana distinguishing asylum seekers from the regular travelers, to the Refugee Status Determination and finally finding durable solutions. He urged participants to take advantage of the learning opportunity to enhance their knowledge base and to sharpen their skills to better provide appropriate humanitarian services.
Similar training sessions are expected to take place in the coming days where an additional 55 Senior and Frontline Officers from the GIS Headquarters, Airport, Seaports and Eastern frontiers will be trained.