Ghana: cease forced return of Burkinabé refugees

The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) on July 12 said it is concerned about reports that hundreds of Burkinabé refugees fleeing to Ghana, including women and children, are being deported. For the past years, Burkina Faso has been experiencing widespread violence and displacement amid an insurgency by extremist groups. According to UNHCR, more than 17,500 Burkina Faso nationals have fled to neighboring countries, also including Niger, Mali, Benin, and Côte d’Ivoire, since January 2021 as a result of the ongoing conflict. Ghana is accused of having forcibly deported more than 500 Burkinabé seeking protection along the border this month. A video on Twitter showing expelled women and children sitting in a parking lot near the border has been widely circulated.

The UNHCR called on Ghana to stop the deportations, saying that they amount to a violation of the non-refoulement principle. The agency urged the Ghanaian government to "guarantee access to the territory and asylum to nationals of Burkina Faso seeking international protection."

The Ghanian Ministry of National Security has denied the allegations. Contrary to the report, it claims, the Ghana Refugee Board has collaborated with the UNHCR to set up a reception center with a capacity of 4,000 individuals in the Upper East Region. Currently, 530 displaced Burkinabé nationals are said to be accommodated there.

From Jurist, July 14. Used with permission.