The Ghana Refugee Board (GRB) is the sole agency mandated to grant refugee status to persons seeking asylum in Ghana. It advises Government on refugee management policy and ensures that Government policy and directives are adhered to in the management of the refugee programme. In order to ensure that Government is abreast with all activities and issues in the refugee programme, the GRB signs an annual tripartite project sub-agreement with UNHCR and implementing partners. It is tasked with coordinating all activities relating to the management and care of refugees in Ghana.
The GRB generally manages the refugee programme in Ghana. The core activities of the GRB include the following:
- Refugee Policy: All major policy decisions related to refugees are taken by the Board and Government is advised accordingly. GRB also ensures that Government decisions and directives are implemented as stipulated.
- Refugee Status Determination: GRB registers interviews and grants asylum or rejects application for refugee status by asylum seekers. This activity takes place all year round. This involves staff of the Secretariat at one level and the Board at a later stage.
- Counseling: Counseling services are offered to refugees and asylum seekers who require them on a weekly basis.
- Verification Exercises: The Board together with UNHCR organizes periodic verification exercises which basically is the headcount of refugees. These are done for various populations (i.e. nationality) or done on location basis.
- Camp Management: The Board manages the refugee camps in the country. There are currently three (3) Ivorian camps: Ampain and Egyeikrom in the Western Region and Fetentaa in the Brong-Ahafo Region and one (1) mixed population camp at Krisan in the Western Region. The Buduburam Settlement still has persons of concern, namely Liberian refugees who were granted exemption from the Cessation Clause. Permission to visit any refugee camp for any purpose by individuals or organisations must be sanctioned by the Secretariat. The National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) has by convention, provided staff for managing the various camps. This is due to the fact that GRB does not have the manpower for them.
- Documentation: The Board issues identity cards to refugees and attestation documents mainly for asylum seekers. Also, the Board is responsible for issuing the UN Convention Travel Documents for recognised refugees who require them for travel. This is in agreement with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration. The Board also assists recognised refugees who require work permits to obtain them from the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) and facilitates the provision of services by state and other agencies to refugees and asylum seekers.
- Local Integration: The Board works closely with the Ghana Immigration Service to implement the legal aspect of Local Integration for refugees who opt for local integration (LI). This entails issuance of residence and work permits.
- Naturalization: GRB is responsible for assisting refugees who qualify for and apply to naturalise as Ghanaians.
- Advocacy: The Ghana Refugee Board per its mandate carries out sustained advocacy programs with stakeholders to throw more light on the existence of refugees in Ghana and the. These advocacy programs in the past have yielded and still continue to produce results such as waiver of school fees as foreigners for both secondary and tertiary, improved access to healthcare, opening of bank accounts among other services.
- Oversight Role: GRB oversees all activities implemented by UNHCR and the implementing partners. Activities and services provided to refugees include the following:
- Security – Services provided by the police with GRB liaising
- Water, Sanitation and Health (WASH)
- Shelter provision
- Food distribution
- Livelihood activities including skills training
GRB is mandated to receive asylum applications and grant refugee status to asylum seekers. GRB is tasked with ensuring that the provisions in the various Refugee Conventions and the Ghana Refugee law are adhered to.
Provide world class services that will ensure efficient and effective protection of Persons of Concern (PoCs) with improved lives leading to credible prospects of return to countries of origin.
Coordinate all activities relating to the protection of refugees and the resolution of refugee problems in the country in a professional manner to ensure national security and enhance good governance.
The following are the values which guide operations of GRB:
- Commitment to personal and professional development of staff at all levels.
- Equality in the treatment of all Persons of Concern
- Transparency in all activities in order to create trust between care givers and receivers
- Engagement with stakeholders at all levels to create ownership of all programmmes
Address: The Executive Secretary, Ghana Refugee Board, Ministry of the Interior, P.O. Box M42, Accra
Location: No. 10, Ojeene Crescent, Dzorwulu, Accra
Tel: +233 0302784372, +233 307038502, +233 307038503