By Eric Tataw
During the celebration of World Refugee Day, Ghana reiterated a theme; We Stand Together With Refugees. As Ghana operates a Refugee Board situated at Ojeene Cres, Accra, Ghana one would obviously expect the best things for Refugees. According to official declarations by the Board, when refugees arrive in the Ghana, it is the Refugee Board’s responsibility to ensure their wellbeing, as per its mandate.
The board also cooperates with other agencies to carry out its mandate. The board partners with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other state agencies such as National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) to assist refugees. The Chair of the Board, Kenneth Dzirasah tasked with ensuring the Board does just exactly to refugees what must be done.
Unfortunately, Kecha Emmanuel, Coordinator of a group of refugees from Cameroon dubbed Ambazonian Refugees in Ghana has sent to National Telegraph, shocking news with videos of what he terms Southern Cameroonian/Ambazonian Refugees in Ghana who live in uncompleted buildings and under bridges with some spending nights in front of the Ghana Refugee Board.
Cameroon is engulfed in an armed conflict and many have fled their homes for safer havens with over more than half a million already in Nigeria, National Telegraph has confirmed. Kecha Emmanuel and other refugee leaders in Ghana have recently held a meeting with them some of the refugees living under unimaginable conditions.
Dear Southern Cameroonians, Fellow Ambazonians, The situation in Ghana in regards to our refugees is getting worse by the day, especially as the number keeps increasing by the day. Till this day we have not received any relief assistance neither from the Ghana Refugees Board (GBR) nor from the UNHCR. Unfortunately, our attempts to convince them to help us severally have been in vain, a bulletin from the meeting reads.
We therefore appeal to the Ambazonian Government, the people of Ambazonia and people of goodwill to do us the following favours; here are Telephone numbers of the Ghana Refugee Board; +233307038502 or +233307038503 to call for them and put pressure for them to do us the following; hasten the completion of our refugees’ status eligibility verification so that we may have refugee recognition, provide accommodation and basic relief supplies for us like mosquito nets, food and mats.
The most intriguing thing is that the functions of the board are outlined in Ghana Refugee Law 1992 (PNDCL 305D) section 5, which would include; receiving and considering applications for refugee status, recognizing any person or group of persons as refugees for the purposes of this Law, registering and keeping a register of persons recognized as refugees under this Law.
It’s also meant in seeking co-operation with non-governmental organizations on masters relating to refugees, assisting in seeking employment or education for refugees and members of their families, endeavouring to ensure the provision of adequate facilities, advice and services for the reception and care of refugees in Ghana, amongst others.
The Ghana Refugee Board is tasked with coordinating all activities relating to the management and care of refugees in Ghana. It is the sole agency mandated to grant refugee status to persons seeking asylum in the country. It advises Government on refugee management policy and ensures that Government policy and directives are adhered to in the management of the refugee programme.
Unfortunately, with hundreds of Cameroonian refugees running from the war torn regions of the North West and South West still sleeping under bridges and living in grossly inhumane conditions, the Board’s image and that of Ghana can only be corroded at the International Scene as is that of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). It might however, also, be possible the Board isn’t aware of the gravity of the situation.