Last Updated: Monday, 22 January 2018, 12:53 GMT

U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 2004 - Ghana

Publisher United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants
Publication Date 25 May 2004
Cite as United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 2004 - Ghana , 25 May 2004, available at: [accessed 22 January 2018]
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 48,000 refugees at the end of 2003, including more than 42,000 from Liberia, more than 4,000 from Togo, and about 1,000 from Sierra Leone. About 6,000 new asylum seekers arrived during the year, mostly from Liberia.

Some 10,000 Ghanaian refugees remained in Togo at year's end.

Refugees from Liberia

Thousands of Liberian refugees and asylum seekers fled to Ghana in 1990 – 91 to escape Liberia's civil war. Smaller numbers arrived in subsequent years.

Most Liberian refugees and asylum seekers lived in Buduburam camp, 25 miles (40 km) west of Accra, the capital. A census conducted jointly by the Ghanaian government and UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimated that nearly 42,000 people lived in Buduburam during 2003. Before the census, the actual number of Buduburam residents was unknown. Previous estimates suggested that some 25,000 lived in the camp, including some Ghanaian citizens. The near doubling in the population figure is attributed to the census and not to the arrival of new refugees during 2003.

UNHCR ended assistance to most refugees in Buduburam in 2000 because it judged most to be self-sufficient, but continued to provide limited targeted assistance to a small number deemed needy. The agency re-established a small amount of general aid in mid-2002 and increased support to community-based programs during 2003.

Buduburam residents initiated a volunteer neighborhood watch team, which conducted night patrols in the camp and reduced incidents of crime. The 200-strong watch team received training from the Ghanaian police and equipment from UNHCR.

The camp's water and sanitation systems barely functioned and uncollected garbage presented health hazards. Although camp residents continued to live with very limited basic social services in terribly overcrowded conditions, no major outbreaks of communicable disease occurred during the year.

Refugees from Sierra Leone

About 1,000 refugees who fled civil war in Sierra Leone during the past decade continued to live in Ghana. Most resided at Krisan camp, 185 miles (300 km) west of Accra.

UNHCR provided refugees in Krisan with food, shelter, water, health care, and primary education. Refugees also received HIV/AIDS education training. Several hundred refugees in Krisan benefited from income-generation projects that encouraged self-sufficiency, including agriculture activities and cash grants from UNHCR to start small businesses.

Impact of Violence in Liberia and Côte d'Ivoire

Violence surrounding the ouster of Liberian President Charles Taylor and continued unrest in neighboring Côte d'Ivoire forced 6,000 Liberians, many of who were already refugees in Côte d'Ivoire, to seek safety in Ghana during 2003.

Uprooted Ghanaians

Ethnic conflict linked to land disputes uprooted about 100,000 people in northern Ghana during 1994 – 95, including at least 10,000 who fled to neighboring Togo.

Although most uprooted families returned to their homes after the violence subsided, some 10,000 Ghanaian refugees remained during 2003. Ghanaian officials and UNHCR met jointly with the refugees during the year and encouraged them to repatriate. Fewer than 1,000 registered to do so.

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