Ghana has played host to refugees from the continent since the late 1950s, during the independence struggles of many African countries. More recently, the country hosted about 50,000 Liberian refugees who fled their country during the First Liberian Civil War (1989–1996) and the Second Liberian Civil War (1999–2003). Ghana also hosted about 20,000 Ivorians during the 2010/2011 election related disturbances in Cote d’Ivoire. Currently, refugees and asylum seekers in Ghana come from about 37 different countries within and outside the African continent.
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency in Ghana closely works with the Ghana Refugee Board (GRB), which is the government organization responsible for the wellbeing of refugees in Ghana. The Ghana Refugee Board (an autonomous body under the Ministry of the Interior) is tasked with coordinating all activities relating to the management and care of refugees in Ghana. It is the sole agency mandated to grant refugee status to persons seeking asylum in the country. It advises Government on refugee management policy and ensures that Government policy and directives are adhered to in the management of the refugee programme.
The Board partners with UNHCR and other state agencies such as National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) to assist refugees.
Functions of the board as outlined in Ghana Refugee Law 1992 (PNDCL 305D) section 5 include the following:
(a) receive and consider applications for refugee status;
(b) recognize any person or group of persons as refugees for the purposes of this Law;
(c) register and keep a register of persons recognized as refugees under this Law;
(d) seek co-operation with non-governmental organizations on matters relating to refugees;
(e) assist in seeking employment or education for refugees and members of their families;
(f) endeavor to ensure the provision of adequate facilities, advice and services for the reception and care of refugees in Ghana;
(g) administer and manage the Refugee Fund established under this Law;
(h) advise the Secretary (Minister) on all matters relating to refugees;
(i) perform all functions conferred upon it under this Law; and
(j) perform any other function that may be assigned to it by the government