The Ministry of Interior has announced that more than 1,800 Ivorians, have taken advantage of an assisted return programme this year.
This was announced at an event held at the Ampain Refugee Camp in the Ellembelle District of the Western Region on Monday, to mark this year’s World Refugee Day.
The figure is said to represent about 96 per cent of those processed since the beginning of an accelerated voluntary repatriation programme embarked upon by the Ministry of Interior, Ghana Refugee Board (GRB), and the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in 2021.
For instance, 937 Ivorian refugees voluntarily repatriated to Cote d’Ívoire in March and April this year.
Voluntary Repatriation means the return to one’s country of origin voluntarily and under conditions of safety and dignity.
The UNCHR, which puts the number processed at 2000, envisages that all Ivorian refugees in Ghana, including those who fled post-election violence in Cote d’Ivoire, will return to their country by June 30, this year.
The global organisation explains that its expectation follows the invocation of the cessation clause to enable all the refugees to return home, particularly now, when there is peace and stability in their country.
Barring such factors like political conflicts, civil wars, adverse climatic conditions and lack of socio-economic opportunities, people would hardly leave their home countries except for holidaying or medical attention.
It is thus good news that Ivorian refugees in Ghana can now go home and live a peaceful life.
- “Home sweet home”, a parlance used in Ghana and elsewhere like Nigeria, captures the feelings and all that makes living in one’s own country an indescribable experience.
Refugees returning home have a lot of benefits such as reuniting with family and friends, as well as their communities.
Most refugees, especially those living in African countries, do not usually enjoy the kind of dignity they deserve as some of their host citizens can mistreat them, so going home offers the Ivorians the opportunity to choose to lead dignified lives.
They can also contribute to nation-building as it is a collective endeavour that must be undertaken by all citizens in one way or another, through socio-cultural and economic activities.
The Ghanaian Times believes that in spite of the fact that political instability drove the Ivorians to come to Ghana, they have picked lessons, experiences and even skills to help nation-building back home.
For example, it is recorded by the UNHCR that some 354 refugee youth have in one instance completed entrepreneurship training to boost their livelihood outcomes.
This would help them to set up businesses back home.
While the Ghanaian Times encourages refugees to return home, it appeals to African leaders to show themselves true leaders who seek the interest of their people first.
‘Twisting’ the constitution, for example, to go for a third term or perpetuate their stay in office is complete insult and shortchange of the people the leaders claim to derive their power from.
It’s about time African leaders fixed problems that cause their citizen to migrate to be refugees in other countries.
It is also time for the African masses to demand accountability from their leaders by rising up against their bad ways such as corruption, failure to fulfil promises, and protection of incompetent and corrupt appointees.
On that note, the Ghanaian Times salutes the UNHCR and affiliate countries for a successful celebration of World Refugee Day on June 20.
The theme: ‘Everyone has the right to seek safety — Whoever they are, wherever they come from and whenever they are forced to flee’ was apt.
The commemoration is used to celebrate the resilience, courage and strength of the millions of people around the world who have been forced to flee their homes due to violence, war or persecution.
The Ivorian refugees should go home to show the same spirit of resilience, courage and strength to help build their country.