U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 2001 - Ghana
|Publisher||United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants|
|Publication Date||20 June 2001|
|Cite as||United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 2001 - Ghana , 20 June 2001, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3b31e163a.html [accessed 19 September 2014]|
Ghana hosted approximately 13,000 refugees at the end of 2000, including some 10,000 from Liberia, about 2,000 from Sierra Leone, and some 1,000 from Togo.
Approximately 10,000 Ghanaian refugees remained in Togo.
Refugees from Liberia
Most of the 10,000 Liberian refugees fled to Ghana in 1990-91 to escape Liberia's civil war. Some 1,000 additional refugees arrived in 2000 seeking permanent resettlement.
Most Liberian refugees lived at Buduburam camp, 25 miles (40 km) from Accra, the capital. The camp was essentially a small town with concrete houses, about 20 churches, and some electricity.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) halted its aid program to Buduburam camp in mid-2000 because most camp occupants were judged to be economically self-sufficient. UNHCR acknowledged, however, that high unemployment rates in Ghana were impeding many refugees' efforts to sustain themselves and their families.
Ghanaian government authorities indicated that they might transfer the occupants of Buduburam camp to a new site 75 miles (about 125 km) from the capital – a move unpopular among the refugee population. Ghanaian society exhibited "xenophobic attitudes toward Liberian refugees" that might eventually prompt relocation of the refugees, UNHCR reported.
Virtually no Liberian refugees repatriated from Ghana during the year. The refugee population expressed reluctance to repatriate because of Liberia's ravaged economy and doubts about the country's stability. Ethnic Krahn Liberian refugees particularly feared persecution because of Liberia's lingering civil war rivalries.
Refugees from Sierra Leone
More than 1,000 Sierra Leonean refugees fled to Ghana during 1998-99 because of ongoing civil war in Sierra Leone. Nearly 500 additional refugees arrived during 2000.
About half of the Sierra Leonean refugee population resided in Krisan camp, where UNHCR provided food, shelter, water, health care, and education. The camp also offered land for farming. Sierra Leonean refugees traumatized by brutalities inflicted during their country's war received counseling at the camp. Most of the other refugees lived in Accra.
Refugees from Togo
About 1,000 Togolese refugees remained in Ghana at year's end. They were all that remained of more than 100,000 Togolese refugees who fled to Ghana in 1993 to escape political violence in their own country. The vast majority of refugees had repatriated by 1997.
Most of the Togolese remaining in Ghana during 2000 were prominent opponents of Togo's ruling party and were unlikely to return home. They primarily settled into Ghanaian villages and rural areas in the Volta region, where they supported themselves.
About 400 Togolese refugees residing at Krisan camp awaited permanent international resettlement as a durable solution to their situation, according to UNHCR. Fifteen refugees departed Ghana for formal resettlement in the United States and Canada during the year. Camp occupants received food aid, blankets, soap, cooking utensils, education assistance, and health care.
Some Togolese refugees continued to express fear that Togolese government security agents would attack or abduct them in Ghana. However, UNHCR received no reports of such incidents during the year.
Ethnic conflict over land disputes killed several thousand people and destroyed more than 300 villages in northern Ghana during 1994-95, forcing at least 100,000 people from their homes. More than 12,000 fled to neighboring Togo.
Although most uprooted families returned to their homes after the violence subsided, some 10,000 Ghanaian refugees remained in Togo during 2000. The Ghanaian government publicly invited the refugees to repatriate in 1999, but few refugees have done so. Most of the refugees in Togo were self-sufficient and probably will not repatriate, according to UNHCR.