Last Updated: Thursday, 23 November 2017, 12:01 GMT

U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 2000 - Ghana

Publisher United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants
Publication Date 1 June 2000
Cite as United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 2000 - Ghana , 1 June 2000, available at: [accessed 23 November 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.


Ghana hosted more than 12,000 refugees at the end of 1999, including an estimated 10,000 from Liberia, about 1,000 from Togo, and more than 1,000 from Sierra Leone.

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. The vast majority lived at Buduburam, a camp about 25 miles (40 km) from Accra, the capital. The camp, supported by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), was essentially a small town with concrete houses, about 20 churches, and some electricity.

Other refugees lived on their own in the capital, Accra, or in Krisan, a smaller camp that also housed several hundred refugees of other nationalities. Liberian refugees continued to receive various forms of assistance from UNHCR, including food, health care, education, and income-generating projects throughout 1999.

Several hundred Liberian refugees officially repatriated from Ghana with assistance from UNHCR during the year. They received a one-month food ration and household items such as blankets and buckets. As many as 2,000 Liberians may have returned home on their own.

In 1998, the Ghanaian government announced its intent to close Buduburam camp by year's end because it believed that most refugees could return home safely. Final closure of the camp, however, has repeatedly been postponed. It remained under discussion at year's end, according to UNHCR.

Some refugees expressed reluctance to repatriate because, they said, Liberia lacked schools, jobs, and guarantees of security in their homes areas. Ethnic Krahn Liberian refugees particularly feared persecution because of lingering civil war rivalries under Liberia's government.

Refugees from Sierra Leone

More than 1,000 Sierra Leonean refugees fled to Ghana in 1998 and 1999 because of the ongoing civil war in Sierra Leone. The majority resided in refugee camps where UNHCR provided food, shelter, and household items. Some refugees also received vocational training in skills such as tailoring and soap making. Sierra Leonean refugees residing in urban areas received short-term assistance consisting of accommodation, food, and health care.

Refugees from Togo

About 1,000 Togolese refugees remained in Ghana at year's end. More than 100,000 Togolese refugees fled in 1993 when their government violently resisted democratic reforms. The majority of Togolese refugees settled into Ghanaian villages and rural areas.

A general amnesty for Togolese refugees in 1994 and relative improvements in the political and security situation in Togo led to the large-scale return of Togolese refugees under a UNHCR-organized repatriation program, which ended in mid-1997.

No Togolese refugees are known to have repatriated in 1999. Most Togolese who remained in Ghana at year's end were prominent opponents of Togo's ruling party and were unlikely to return home.

Uprooted Ghanaians

An outbreak of inter-ethnic conflict in rural northern Ghana in 1994-95 destroyed more than 300 villages, left several thousand dead, and forced more than 100,000 persons from their homes. More than 12,000 fled to neighboring Togo. Land disputes dating from pre-colonial times between members of different ethnic groups caused the violence.

Although most uprooted families returned to their homes, more than 10,000 Ghanaian refugees remained in Togo at year's end. In October, the government of Ghana publicly expressed its willingness to receive back all Ghanaian refugees from Togo. Most, however, were largely self-sufficient and probably will not repatriate, according to UNHCR.

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