African Commission - Liberian Refugees - 2009
Type: Intl Mechanism Submission
Issues: Detention, Due Process and Fair Trial, Expression and Opinion, International Advocacy, Migrant Rights
Mechanism: African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
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In mid-February 2008, a group of refugees delivered a petition to UNHCR and the Ghana Refugee Board, opposing integration into Ghanaian society and requesting resettlement or US$1,000 repatriation allowance in order to start a new life back in Liberia. In conjunction with this request, hundreds of Liberian refugees – primarily women and children – held a five-week long protest on the central sports field in Buduburam. The Ghanaian government’s reaction to the protests was of particular concern and noted in the report.
On March 17, 2008, Ghanaian authorities arrested 630 of the protesters, in some cases separating families. Mothers and children were taken away, while other family members were left behind. The detained protesters, virtually all women and children, were taken to Kordeabe Youth Camp in the Eastern Region of Ghana, a several hour drive from Buduburam. They were held there for days. Moreover, 16 detained Liberians, 13 of whom had valid refugee status, were summarily deported to Liberia without due process of law.