A High-Level Consultative Dialogue on the influx of Burkinabe Refugees in Ghana has been held in Accra to frame a contingency plan to deal with the ongoing situation.
Over 4,000 Burkinabes have fled their country to seek asylum in Ghana due to Jihadist attacks. They entered the country through border towns in the Upper East and Upper West Regions of Ghana.
In a speech read on behalf of the Minister for the Interior, Mr. Ambrose Dery, the Chief Director of the Ministry, Mrs. Adelaide Anno-Kumi stated that the consultative dialogue is timely due to the increasing reports of attacks and other military actions in the southern part of Burkina Faso that had exacerbated the influx of Burkinabes into Ghana.
Mrs. Anno-Kumi noted that true to the proverbial Ghanaian hospitality some communities have given up part of their already scarce resources to ensure that the refugees are as comfortable as possible.
The Chief Director urged the Ghana Refugee Board (GRB) and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) to ensure that appropriate interventions are made for the Burkinabes to improve the situation of their Ghanaian hosts and maintain harmony between the two groups of people.
She further urged stakeholders to ensure that extremists do not infiltrate the asylum system to threaten national security, stating that interventions should be well coordinated to avoid duplication of efforts.
The UNHCR Country Representative, Ms. Esther Kiragu, indicated that there were about 1.8 million internally displaced people in Burkina Faso which is worsening and there was the possibility that more people would seek asylum in Ghana.
She commended Ghana for having a long tradition of hosting refugees and being a shining light with a progressive asylum system that enables refugees in the country to contribute to the local economy.
The Executive Director of GRB, Mr. Tetteh Padi, said the Burkinabe asylum seekers are largely being housed by Ghanaians in the communities and are located in the Upper East and Upper West regions.
Participants at the meeting included Regional Ministers of the Upper East and Upper West Regions, representatives from the Ministry of the Interior, the Ghana Police Service, the Ghana Immigration Service, the Ghana Refugee Board, National Disaster Management Organisation, Social Welfare, Security Agencies, UNHCR and the UN Refugee Agency.