Solutions in West Africa - Ghanaian Refugees in Togo Q3 2018
Ghanaian refugees in northern Togo are well integrated in communities and have no intention of returning to Ghana. In 2013, the Governments of Togo and Ghana as well as UNHCR affirmed the common pathway to “facilitate local integration of Ghanaian refugees arrived in 1982 and 1994 through the issuance of residence permits or their naturalization.”
Although the Government of Togo and UNHCR provided them with protection, they have never been officially recognized as refugees. Many do not possess identity documents from neither Ghana nor Togo. Lack of legal status and documentation put them at risk of statelessness. According to an intention survey in 2016, nearly 98% of them expressed their wish to stay in Togo while keeping their Ghanaian nationality.
Two meetings between the Governments of Togo, Ghana and UNHCR took place in 2013 and 2014 to seek durable solutions. In 2013, the parties jointly issued a joint communiqué on the common pathway. In 2014, all parties visited northern Togo to visit refugees. UNHCR also sent a memorandum to the Office of the President in Togo to advocate for the naturalization of Ghanaian refugees.
In 2016 two sectoral groups, one on socio-economic led by the Ministry of Agriculture and one on legal led by the Ministry of Security and Civil Protection, held meetings to advance naturalization and an alternative durable legal status.
UNHCR has been implementing an agro-pastoral project with Institut de Conseil et d’Appui Technique to achieve self-sufficiency of the vulnerable refugees and host community members since 2016. 210 refugees and over 300 host members received capacity strengthening training, as well as agricultural tools or livestock.
In 2017, the Government organized a national forum on solutions for refugees and local integration was identified as the most appropriate durable solution. A technical committee was formed to implement the forum resolution.
In the last quarter of 2018, the Government will evaluate Ghanaian refugees born in Togo to apply jul soli to confirm their citizenship of Togo. UNHCR continues to advocate with the Government of Togo to reduce the cost of the 10-year resident permit cost, which currently amounts to 500,000 CFA (over US$800) per person.
UNHCR will seek durable solution approaches harmonized between Ghanaian refugees in Togo and Togolese refugees in Ghana.
Inter-ethnic clashes caused Ghanaian to flee into rural communities in northern Togo in 1982-1994 and 2010-14. In June 2018, another group of about 1800 Ghanaian fled into northern Togo. The group has strong cultural and linguistic affinities with local Togolese population.
Sustainable Development Goals
UNHCR is firmly committed to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Sustainable Development Goals can provide a basis for improved protection and, ultimately, solutions for forcibly displaced people. The promise to “leave no one behind” provides a basis to include the needs of refugees, IDPs, and stateless persons, in development planning.