IMANI Africa President, Franklin Cudjoe, has called on the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to provide clarity on the status of the refugees at the Buduburam Camp in the Central Region after eviction processes began on September 30.
Speaking on The Big Issue, Mr. Cudjoe was concerned that there was a lack of clarity on the issue.
“The UNHCR has an office and the Ghana Refugee Board also has an office [in Ghana] and I think we should bring them into the picture as well,” he said.
“…They were asked to either integrate into the country or be repatriated. How exactly did that pan out? I think that is what we need to know.”
“What were the terms? Were they told, for instance, those who would be reintegrated into the country would be given certain lifeline support, or they would be taken to other areas in the country? I think we need to understand those terms,” Mr. Cudjoe said.
The Ghana Refugee Board has commented on the issue and said it gave 400 registered Liberian refugees at the camp $400 each to enable them to relocate back in 2012.
The Buduburam Camp became the home of Liberian refugees after it was opened by the UNHCR in 1990.
But this assertion was challenged by the Chairman of the Liberian Community in Budumburam, Denis Graham, who contended that the status of the camp and its refugees had not changed in that period.
According to him, there were about 11,000 Liberians in 2012, of which 4,600 opted to be integrated into Ghanaian society.
Mr. Graham also disputed suggestions that the camp had effectively been decommissioned.
“You are talking about it being decommissioned? What are you still keeping camp managers there for if the place has been decommissioned?”
“I still don’t get the point of saying the place has been decommissioned. If the place has been decommissioned, why are refugees still there? Why do you have your officers there,” Mr. Graham asked.
Moving forward, he stressed that getting relocated was the priority of the refugees.
“Our concern is about letting the government do the right thing, which is full relocation [of the refugees].”