The National Identification Authority has begun the registration and issuance of Refugee Identity Cards to refugees living in Ghana.
The process is expected to enable refugees in the country to get access to some social services they do not currently enjoy as a result of their unregistered status.
Accessing basic services such as opening a bank account, registering SIM cards etc. is often a daunting task for refugees in the country.
They have thus been calling on the government to be considered for the Ghana card ever since the exercise began, so they could live a stress-free life while in the country.
Some of the registered refugees expressed joy and said they now feel fully integrated into the Ghanaian society.
Acting Executive Secretary for the Ghana Refugee Board, Padi Tetteh commended the registration process saying it is a step in the right direction and in accordance with international conventions.
“Due to the fact that we are signatories to the UN Refugee Convention and also the fact that we are governed by the Ghana Refugee Law, we are to ensure that refugees have access to social services, and it is important that they do so in order to allow them to earn a living.”
Padi Tetteh also revealed that 7,000 refugees are expected to be issued the card at the end of the exercise.
He was quick to clarify that the card does not grant nationality to the refugees but, it is a means to enable them to get access to decent social services and also to ensure their safety while living in Ghana.
“It is important to note that the card doesn’t grant them nationality, and they don’t have the right to vote. The only thing is that the card gives them the right to social services in order to live in safety and dignity.”
The 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol outline the rights of refugees, as well as the legal obligations of States to protect them, including the right to social services.