The Minister of Interior, Ambrose Dery, has called for strengthened collaboration and cooperation among partner institutions in refugee protection. This is to safeguard the rights of refugees as prescribed by international and the country’s laws.
He said protection of the rights of refugees is non-negotiable as it is a value that has stood the test of time and is humanity’s long-standing tradition.
However, he noted that while ensuring that the rights of asylum seekers are upheld at the country’s entry ports, the laws and security of the state should remain in focus.
He has, therefore, asked the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) and the Ghana Refugee Board (GRB) to collaborate effectively to ensure that the rights of refugees and the security of the country is not compromised.
The Interior Minister said this at the opening of a high-level dialogue on the protection of refugees in international and Ghanaian law. The dialogue is aimed at enhancing cooperation among stakeholders.
It was organised by the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency in collaboration with the Ghana Refugee Board and the Ghana Immigration Service. It is to advance strategies and strengthen cooperation among collaborators in refugee protection in the country.
Mr Dery said refugee protection is not a matter of charity, but an obligation under the 1951 Convention of Refugee Status and other binding regional instruments.
“All of us must work together, in the spirit of cooperation, to ensure the effective protection of the fundamental human rights of refugees,” he said.
He added that the Ministry would continue to identify areas of mutual collaboration with the UNHCR and other international partners to build upon the strong foundation already established.
Mr Dery noted that such discussions must take place periodically to enable ideas to be shared on the challenges encountered from reception of asylum seekers through to the provision of durable solutions for refugees.
“Partners should propose ways for collaboration to ensure appropriate and adequate capacity building of all actors in receiving asylum seekers,” he said.
“We have caseload of protracted refugee situations including; the Togolese, Sierra Leonean, Rwandese and Burundian refugees; we all agree that nobody should remain a refugee forever and it is my expectation that everything will be done to help bring their refugee status to an end,” he assured.
He noted that in the spirit of collaboration and capacity building, the UNHCR in 2020, under the “Solution and COVID-19 Assistance Fund” had started and completed numerous infrastructural projects for partners in refugee management.