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Ghana Refugee Board's Board to be in place within a fortnight

Accra, June 14, GNA – The Ghana Refugee Board (GRB) Board would be in place within two weeks, the Minister of the Interior, Mr Ambrose Dery has announced.

He said the Ministry had forwarded the list of competent persons for appointment as GRB Board Members to the Presidency, which was currently receiving attention from the Council of State.

Mr Dery made this known on Wednesday in Accra during a familiarization tour of the GRB.

The Minister, who is currently embarking on a familiarization tour of Departments and Agencies under his Ministry, was accompanied by his Deputy, Mr Henry Quartey and the Chief Director of the Ministry, Mrs Adelaide Anno-Kumi.

The tour has already taken the team to the National Peace Council and the Narcotic Control Board.

The GRB was established under the Ghana Refugee Law 1992 (PNDC Law 305D), and is charged with the management of activities relating to refugees in Ghana.

Mr Dery said the government wanted to handle things based on facts; adding that ‘you first have to understand the problem before attempting to find the solution’.

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He said there was no country which had problem free refugee administration situation; stating that ‘at least for us in Ghana we are alive to our obligation as a member of the international community and we do not throw people out, the way some of our people are being thrown out of other countries.’

‘As I speak to you today 63 Ghanaians are expected from the US. I believe that if we were also less considerate we probably would have sent some people out.’

He said the Ministry had had discussions with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugee (UNHCR) and the European Union about legal and illegal migrations, during which he made it clear to them that Ghana was not only a source but also a destination for refugees.

He appealed to Ghanaians to help combat the human trafficking situation in the county.

Dr Kofi Anani, the Executive Secretary, GRB said by the close of 2016 about 80 per cent of refugees living in Ghana had returned to their home.

He said currently, there were about 14,000 refugees living in Ghana, of which two-thirds were living in the four refugee camps: Buduburam in the Central Region, Fetentaa in the Brong Ahafo, Krisan and Ampain in the Western Region.

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He said of the total number of refugees in the country, 50 per cent were willing to go back, whereas 48 per cent were undecided with the two per cent not willing to go back.

He explained that some of the refugees were living with families and friends in the cities and towns.

Dr Anani said due to resource constraints, the GRB was finding it very difficult to meet all the needs of the refugees in the various camps.

He said the GRB was working in collaboration with the World Bank and the UNHCR to see how best they would address the refugee situation in Ghana.

He said the composition of the GRB Board was urgent in order to enable Refugee Status Determination to be carried out.

He mentioned that there were some outstanding appeals by rejected asylum seekers; stating that appeals against the Board’s decisions had been outstanding for a long time.

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He said their current office space, which is a rented facility was inadequate and unsuitable; stating that the Ghana Refugee Board was unstaffed.

Dr Anani said the Buduburam Verifcation Committee, which had been dissolved now, was unable to sit due to lack of resources; he therefore, appealed to the Minister to ensure that it was reconstituted.

He announced that the GRB in collaboration with the UNHCR would be observing the World Refugee Day Celebration on Tuesday, June 20, 2017.

An elated Dr Anani also announced to the gathering that for the first time since the establishment of the Ghana Refugee Board, approval had been received from government for the purchase of an official vehicle.

Mr Tetteh Padi, GRB Programme Coordinator, cited the case of former refugees from Benin (mostly Togolese) who had been formally integrated in Benin but had now relocated to Ghana and were seeking refugees’ status.

He said the Board was facing logistical constraints such as vehicles, which was hampering their operations.

GNA

By Iddi Yire, GNA