Ampain — The 2019 World Refugee Day was marked in Ghana last Thursday at the Ampain Refugee camp in the Ellembelle District of the Western Region.
It was organised by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and observed on the theme: "Taking a step with refugees".
The Deputy Minister of the Interior, Mr Henry Quartey, in a speech to mark the occasion said a framework of the privileges available to all citizens in terms of supportive and enabling environment to access essential services were also extended to all asylum seekers and refugees in the country.
Mr Quartey disclosed that refugees in the country had often been given land for settlement and other services granted them to make their stay comfortable and be integrated into the communities close to them.
The UNHCR Representative for Ghana, Ms Esther Kiragu, commended Ghana for the progressive asylum policy and the Pan African ethos and spirit that the country was renowned for.
She said Ghana over the years had always treated asylum seekers and refugees with dignity, respect and leading a very shining example for others to follow.
Ms Kiragu stated that the African Union (AU) declared 2019 as the year for " Refugees, returnees, and internally displaced persons; Towards durable solutions for internally displaced persons" to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1969 African Union Convention Governing Specific Aspects of Refugees in Africa" launched by the Africa Heads of States Summit in February 2019 at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Ms Kiragu said the UN estimated that the number of people fleeing war, persecution and conflict exceeded 7 million in 2018, adding that it was a conservative figure, given that the current largest displacement in Venezuela which was still unfolding with 25.9 million as refugees, some figures pointed 41.3 as internally displaced persons.
She noted that the rate of displacement continued to exceed the rate at which durable solutions were being found, adding that the traditional solution was voluntary repatriation for people to return in safety and dignity.
The message from the Holy See which was read by the Apostolic Nuncio, Pavol Talapka, said violent conflicts and all-out wars continued to tear humanity apart, saying that injustices and discrimination, economic and social imbalances on a local or global scale proved difficult to overcome and the poor of the poorest and the most disadvantaged had to pay the price.
The Apostolic Nuncio intimated that the most economically advanced societies were witnessing a growing trend towards extreme individualism which combined with a utilitarian mentality and reinforced by the media, was producing a "globalisation of indifference."
He said with the current trend of events, the migrants, refugees, displaced persons and victims of trafficking had become emblems of exclusion in addition to hardships that their conditions entailed, which were often overlooked.
As part of activities marking the refugees day, Tobinco Group of Companies donated some medication, toiletries, detergents and used clothing worth over GHC100,000 to the Ampain Refugee Camp.