Ghana has commemorated the 2022 World Refugees Day at Ampain in the Ellembelle District of the Western Region to celebrate the resilience of refugees and asylum seekers the world over.
Addressing the occasion, the Hon. Minister for the Interior, Ambrose Dery said this year’s theme, ‘The Right to Seek Safety – whoever, wherever and whenever’, is in sync with Government’s security goal to make each and every person in Ghana feel safe.
He said Government is working with partners in refugee management to ensure that refugees have access to education, health and other social services in the country and also be secured to the benefit of society.
The Minister stated that as part of Ghana’s humanitarian policy, refugees in Ghana are encouraged to be self-reliant and contribute towards national development. He added that Government, through the Ghana Refugee Board, will continue to support United Nations High Commission for Refugees in the implementation of livelihood activities which have chalked many successes.
Hon. Ambrose Dery noted that since independence, Ghana has proven to be a haven for persons fleeing territories where they fear they will be persecuted. ‘We continue to live up to our responsibilities as spelt out in the UN Convention on the Status of Refugees as well as the 1969 AU Convention on Refugees which we have signed up to,’ he stated.
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 insist that persons seeking asylum in Ghana, as a matter of necessity, abide by the laws of the land,’ he added.
Hon. Ambrose Dery assured the good people of Ghana that Government will not compromise its security and that the asylum space will be guarded to ensure that it is not used as a conduit for perpetrating any undesirable activities.
He commended the Ivorian nationals who have sought refuge in Ghana over the past 11 years for their resilience and peaceful and harmonious coexistence with their host country.
However, he said, it is heartwarming that since the beginning of the accelerated voluntary repatriation in 2021, Ivorians have returned home voluntarily in their numbers. He said so far, in 2022 alone, over 1,800 Ivorians have taken advantage of assisted return and that it is a clear indication that it is now safe for them to return home.
He also explained Ghana hosts refugees from over 35 different countries and expressed his joy that they have all generally been of good conduct.
The Minister commended the UNHCR for the support provided to ensure that refugees’ rights are upheld and for organising the World Refugees Day to honour refugees and for helping to highlight their presence and contributions to society.