Ghana Has Over 19,000 Refugees – UNHCR
The Ghana Country Office of the United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees (UNHCR) says currently, the total population of persons of concern to it hosted by the Ghana government is 19,499.
They consist of 18,035 refugees and 1,452 Asylum Seekers.
The Associate Community Services Officer of the UNHCR Ghana, Elsie Dinah Yaokumah, recounted that the Organization’s Representation in Ghana was opened in 1992, but prior to that protection and assistance to refugees and asylum seekers was coordinated from the United Nations Development Programme Country Office.
She said the main focus of the Organization is to provide international protection to refugees and asylum seekers.
Madam Yaokumah made the observation in a presentation on “Adolescent girls and disaster,” during the launch of Plan International’s annual State of the World’s Girls report 2013 in Accra.
She said since its existence, the office has seen the influx of Togolese refugees of 1993, Liberian refugees of 1990 and 2003, another set of Togolese refugees in 2005, and Ivorian refugees in 20011.
She added that other asylum seekers hosted by Ghana though in the minority, are Sudanese, Sierra Leoneans, Congolese, Chadians, Ethiopians, Cameroonians, and Rwandese.
Madam Yaokumah explained that the initiative to invigorate and strengthen international protection regime in the country thus far, has resulted in the constitution of the Ghana Refugee Board and the development of improved collaboration with government ministries, departments and agencies.
According to her, the assistance provided by the UNHCR to adolescents includes, but not limited to, identification of persons with specific needs and monitoring assistance through the provision of basic education, vocational and technical training.
Also, reproductive health programmes, sexual and gender based violence prevention and response, youth friendly centres and the promotion of leadership skills.
“The provision of basic and essential services that protect the physical and psychological well-being of the girls is assured. These are evident in the monthly supply of sanitary towels, supply of charcoal to prevent exposure to sexual violence, when searching for fuel wood, well lit toilet and bathhouse, distribution of water within 200 metres walking distance, supply of food ratio, non-food items like soap, hygiene kits and free condoms,” she stated.
Madam Yaokumah said the issues of adolescent girls are equally important in disaster as in normal situations adding that the United Nations Assembly realizing this need passed a number of resolutions to protect the child and this informs UNHCR’s work with adolescent girls.