Refugee Board (Ghana)
|Jurisdiction||Republic of Ghana|
|Agency executive||Kenneth Dzirasah, Chairman|
The Ghana Refugee Board was established under the Ghana Refugee Law 1992 (PNDCL 305D), and is charged with the management of activities relating to refugees in Ghana. It is under the control of the Ministry of the Interior.
Functions of the board
The main preoccupation of the Refugee Board is with refugees. Its functions include:
- interviewing individuals seeking refugee status
- granting refugee status to asylum seekers from areas of civil conflict or places where they face political persecution.
- oversight over all refugee camps in the country.
When refugees arrive in the Ghana, it is the Refugee Board's responsibility to ensure their wellbeing, as per its mandate. The board also cooperates with other agencies to carry out its mandate, as it did in March 2011 faced with an influx of refugees from Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast), who had fled during the Second Ivorian Civil War. The board partnered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other state agencies such as National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) to assist these refugees.
Head of the board
The Budumburam Camp in the Central Region of Ghana is home to over 11,000 Liberian refugees. These refugees have lived in the camp for over two decades since they fled the civil war in that country. In 2008, about 500 Liberian refugees in the camp embarked on an "indefinite sit-down strike". This was to draw attention to the perceived unsatisfactory arrangements to have them repatriated to Liberia in that year. Of the 11,000 Liberian refugees, only 198 have accepted repatriation back to Liberia as of 2008.
The refugees are requesting resettlement in another country, but the Refugee Board maintains that no country is willing to accept them. The Refugee Board has now prepared plans for integrating in Ghana those refugees who are not repatriated, a move which is being strongly opposed by the refugees.
Refugees from Côte d'Ivoire
In March 2011, refugees fleeing the fighting in the Second Ivorian Civil War entered Ghana. In total, some 116,000 Ivorians fled to eight West African countries, including Ghana, Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Liberia, Togo, Benin and Nigeria. Ghana received 3,129 new refugees, mainly from the Ivorian capital of Abidjan and its suburbs. The UNHCR set up a transit centre at the Elubo border crossing.
The Refugee Board partnered with the UNHCR and Ghanaian state agencies such as NADMO to assist these refugees. After the setting up of the transit centre, the Refugee Board is looking for land to convert into a temporary shelter for the refugees, ahead of building a more permanent place in the Elembelle constituency. The UNHCR also set up a refugee camp in the town of Ampain that could hold 3,000 people.
- "The Ghana Refugee Board". MINT.gov.gh. Retrieved 7 May 2011.
- "System in Ghana poised to assess and support refugees from Ivory Coast". UNDP. Retrieved 8 May 2011.
- "Dzirasah appointed Chairman of Ghana Refugee Board". Modern Ghana. Retrieved 8 May 2011.
- Ghana News Agency (14 January 2011). "Dzirasah appointed Chairman of Ghana Refugee Board". Modern Ghana. Retrieved 10 May 2011.
- "The Ghana Refugee Board is asking the Liberian refugee population in Ghana to refrain from alarmist utterances.". CitifmOnline.com. Retrieved 11 May 2011.
- "Refugees Protest Repatriation". AllAfrica.com. Retrieved 11 May 2011.
- "Unwilling refugees to be integrated or repatriated- Refugee Board". Ghana News. MyJoyOnline.com. 24 Mar 2011. Retrieved 10 May 2011.
- "Togo and Ghana receiving more Ivorian refugees as crisis spreads". UNHCR. Retrieved 8 May 2011.
- "Dzirasah: Influx of Ivorian refugees in Ghana overwhelming". GhanaWeb.com. Retrieved 8 May 2011.