It is emerging that the UNHCR office in Ghana had no knowledge on the refugee status granted the two former Guantanamo Bay detainees in Ghana.
The Foreign Affairs Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey told the Parliament of Ghana that the two are currently the responsibility of the country and have been granted refugee status.
The two – Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby – arrived in Ghana in late 2015 under an “unconstitutional” arrangement between the governments of Ghana and United States of America.
The stay of the two Yemenis that was later ratified by Parliament in 2017 expired on January 6, 2018.
The US said its “financial support and obligation in respect of the agreement, has ended following its expiration,” Ayorkor Botchwey told Parliament, “this means that all obligations relating to the two suspects have now become the responsibility of Ghana.”
She therefore said the Ghana Refugee Board has granted them refugee status.
This has been confirmed by the board to TV3 that the two were given urban refugee status as far back as 2016.
However, TV3 sources at UNHCR-Ghana, the agency that works with the Ghana Refugee Board to coordinate international protection and the delivery of humanitarian assistance to asylum seekers and refugees in the country, have contradicted the Board’s position on the refugee status.
The refugee status of the two has become a contentious issue as the government and the opposition trade accusations.
The government has been dared by an opposition Member of Parliament to revoke their status if it feels the previous government is the cause of their stay. READ MORE
It has however been revealed that Ghana is not bearing any financial commitment to the Yemenis as long as they live in Ghana.
TV3 sources at the Ghana Refugee Board have pointed out that Ghana is only providing security for the “low risk” ex-detainees whilst they reside in the country.
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