asylum violation

Ghana accused of expelling 500 Burkina nationals


Posted on July 14, 2023 09:28

Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo – President Of Ghana during a visit to London.
Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo – President Of Ghana during a visit to London, UK – 05 Apr 2022

More than 500 people, including women and children, have been expelled from Ghana, Burkina Faso authorities said Thursday as a UN agency urged Accra to halt the deportations. Meanwhile, Ghana says it has set up a repatriation procedure at the border.

National Solidarity Minister Nandy Some Diallo said the Burkinabes had been repatriated since Tuesday into three different regions along the border.

“Our compatriots have been sent back by Ghana without any real official information,” she said. Burkina Faso faces regular deadly attacks by jihadists across much of its territory, often forcing local populations to flee. Ouagadougou’s Ministry for Territorial Administration, Decentralisation and Security said 250 people, including 130 children and 85 women had been sent back from Ghana towards Dakola in the Centre South region.

“All these people say they were not allowed to bring home their belongings or take their administrative documents,” a statement said, adding that a government delegation had gone to Dakola.

South West region governor Boureima Sawadogo reported about 200 people had turned up at Ouessa, about 200km (125 miles) west of Dakola.

And in the centre-west region there were some 60 refugees from Ghana, the local authorities said.

Seydou Tall, who crossed into Ghana three months ago, told local media that he and other Burkinabes, some of who had lived in Ghana for more than 10 years, had been told on Tuesday they had to leave.

“We don’t know what they have against us,” said the man in his 70s.

The UN refugee agency UNHCR voiced concern after reports about  “deportations of hundreds of Burkinabe citizens, mainly women and children, who sought safety and protection in Ghana”.

“UNHCR calls on the government of Ghana to cease these expulsions, which amount to a violation of the non-refoulement principle, and guarantee access to the territory and asylum to nationals of Burkina Faso seeking international protection,” the statement said.

Life threatened

Non-refoulement is enshrined in international law and prohibits the return of an asylum seeker or a refugee to countries where his life or freedom would be threatened.

Ghana’s National Security Ministry on Thursday denied the expulsions saying it had opened a temporary reception centre with a capacity of 2,100 people near the border with Burkina.

Some 530 Burkinabe refugees were staying there, it added.

“Ghana is committed to accommodating Burkinabe nationals who have been displaced … due to the prevailing security situation in southern Burkina Faso,” the ministry said.

“Contrary to claims that displaced Burkinabes are being forced out of Ghana, a repatriation process has been instituted at the reception centre to aid the movement of Burkinabes who wish to return to their country.”

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