Ceased status for Ivorian refugees takes effect June 30
Interior Minister, Ambrose Dery has pledged Government’s support to approach durable solutions for Ivorian refugees humanely as cessation for their status comes into effect on June 30, 2022.
The Minister for the Interior, Hon. Ambrose Dery who was keynote speaker during the World Refugee Day celebration in Ampain assured Ivorian refugees in Ghana that durable solutions would continue to be implemented humanely as their status ends.
He said Ghana has since independence, proven to be a safe place for persons fleeing territories where they fear they will be persecuted. He pledged government will continue to live up to its responsibilities as spelt out in the UN Convention on the Status of Refugees as well as the 1969 AU Convention on Refugees which Ghana is a signatory to. He said 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.
“While we ensure that refugees go about their lives in safety and in dignity, Government 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 commended the resilience of Ivorian nationals who have sought refuge in Ghana over the past 11 years for living in peace and harmony with their hosts.
Hon. Dery said it is not often that refugee situations are brought to a successful end, particularly in Africa and the fact that Cote d’Ivoire is working with the international community and countries hosting their nationals, to close this chapter, must be commended.
He commended UNHCR for the support provided to ensure that refugees’ rights are upheld.
For her part, UNHCR Country Representative, Ms. Esther Kiragu noted the cessation of status for Ivorian refugees was informed by the peace that now exists in Cote d’Ivoire and its nationals can now return in safety and dignity.
She said that this year alone, about 2000 Ivorians had been supported to return voluntarily, and many others have requested the same support, while a few have sought alternative status to stay on as migrants in Ghana, not refugees.
‘’Refugee status is not supposed to be a permanent state of being. Our forefathers meant for it to be a status granted for protection purposes for a short time while more permanent solutions are being sought”
Ms. Kiragu commended the refugees and asylum seekers for their courage and resilience.
“We know it is not easy, but you have shown that it is possible to survive and thrive in asylum given an enabling environment. You have also demonstrated that refugee status is not permanent and that when it is safe to do so, refugees return home. That east or west, home is best. Thank you for keeping the faith that solutions will eventually be found” she explained.
The Representative used the opportunity to thank the Government and the host communities, who are always the first responders, for being such gracious hosts all these years. She also called on countries to ensure that people fleeing violence and persecution in search of international protection and safety are not turned away at the borders despite the meteoric rise in the numbers of forcibly displaced people. Recently UNHCR marked a grim milestone in the number of people forced to flee conflict, war, persecution, and human rights abuses crossing the 100 million mark for the first time on record.
“Being a refugee is not something one chooses; it happens to you, and we must ensure the right to seek asylum remains sacrosanct and respected for all without discrimination.”
The Chairman of the Ghana Refugee Board, Professor Ken Attafuah, commended the local authorities for generously agreeing to host refugees in their community and share their valuable resources with them. This adds practical effect to this year’s theme.
He acknowledged UNHCR’s role in ensuring refugees in Ghana live in dignity and respect from the emergency phase through to the implementation of durable solutions. He also commended Ivorian refugees who have lived in various host communities in peace and harmony.
The Chief of Ampain, Nana Nyameke Fofole II was grateful to UNHCR for the continuous support to the community. He said the refugees have been law-abiding, and the people of Ampain have co-existed peacefully with them.