Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Plight of Liberian refugees in Ghana.....

Hundreds of Liberian women refugees arrested Monday by Ghanaian police remain in custody, and there are reports the Ghanaian government is considering deporting them back to Liberia as soon as possible. The BBC said a group of Liberian refugees most of whom are women were accused by a minister of being naked while protesting by the roadside, the refugees were protesting plans to send them back home with only US$100.
Some of the refugees told the BBC that they were beaten by the Ghanaian police at Buduburam camp.

While most of us Liberians are very grateful to the Ghanaian Government and the people of Ghana for their hospitality and generosity in our time of great needs, we also respectfully ask that they be patient with our people, and not resort to acts that would abuse the rights of our people, and further add insult to injury to women and children who not only lost everything during our country's civil war, but must also live as beggars in another country. i live in Ghana for several years before coming to the states and i can tell you from experience that it is not easy for Liberians or any foreigner for that matter to just integrate into Ghanaian society, it is hard to start a business because the government don't want you taking business from, or competing their citizens, leaving many of our people to depend on aid from relatives abroad, or in some cases, our young women resorting to prostitution just to feed their family.
Meanwhile, The Coalition of Ghanian Human Rights Organizations says it will sue the government of Ghana if it fails to resort to the courts in dealing with the arrested Liberian Refugees. The coalition slammed the government of Ghana for what it calls an “over reaction” to the protests of the refugees. The coalition has formed an investigative team to look into the stand off between the refugees and the government.The team comprises of people from the Legal Resources Centre and the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative. A fact finding team was dispatched to both the Buduburam camp and holding area for the over 600 arrested refugees in Kordeabe in the Eastern Region. The team claimed its initial findings revealled that the rights of the refugees had been grossly violated by the Ghanaian government. The Head of the Legal Resources Centre, Mr. Edward Amuzu who was part of the team told the press that the public was generally misinformed on the crisis.He said the women had not striped themselves naked as had been reported in the media and that there were no road-blocks at the Buduburam camp.Mr. Amuzu said the government’s handling of the crisis was embarrassing to the country.According to him only a court of competent jurisdiction could determine whether the refugees should be repatriated.The Country Representative of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, Ms Hida Harley Mariam told the BBC that the UNHCR was concerned about the manner in which the crisis was being handled.She said the Commission supported the government’s decision to ensure that the refugees respected the country’s laws.It was however worried about any disproportionate action by the government.The Minority spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Mr. John Mahama said although the demands by the refugees could be unreasonable, it was important to protect their human rights.He said the anger of the Interior Minster should not be allowed to damage the reputation of the country. The Liberian government is said to be sending a delegation led by the Liberian Foreign Minister to Ghana to plead with the government to rescind its decision to repatriate the protesting refugees.

1 comment:

Penelope said...

Hi Mike,

Could you please post this on your blog, and sign it yourself? Thanks!

Please sign the petition calling on authorities to insure that the rights of refugees in Ghana are being upheld:

It will be passed on to authorities as soon as we garner enough support.

This petition is co-sponsored by a group of NGOs and individuals who have worked and are currently working in the Buduburam refugee settlement.

Thank you.