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13.04.2007 Togo

Togolese refugees in Ghana to return home voluntarily

By myjoyonline
The UNHCR, the Governments of Ghana and Togo on Thursday signed a Tripartite Agreement to facilitate voluntary repatriation of Togolese Refugees from Ghana.

The agreement, which was signed in the Togolese capital, Lome seeks to facilitate the voluntary return of Togolese refugees who have been in Ghana since 1992.

A statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Ghana's Foreign Minister Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his Togolese counterpart Zrifou Ayeva, signed for their countries, while the UNHCR Representative in Ghana, Ms. Aida Haile Mariam, signed for the UN body.

The delegation from Ghana included Nana Akufo-Addo, Mr McArios A. Akanbong, Assistant Director-Legal and Consular Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Mr. M.A. Bawumia, Ministry of the Interior.

Also in attendance were various members of the diplomatic community including USA, China and the European Union.

Given some interest expressed by a portion of Togolese refugees in returning home, the UNHCR and the respective governments are putting in place a legal framework to govern possible voluntary repatriation to Togo.

Voluntary repatriation is the most preferred durable solution option for refugees. Ghana hosts some 50,600 refugees, 12,326 of them being Togolese.

Nana Akufo-Addo later paid courtesy calls on the new Togolese Prime Minister, Mr. Agboyibor, and the Togolese President, Mr. Faure Gnassingbe.

The meetings, which were held behind closed doors, centered on Ghana-Togo relations and on regional and continental issues.

The Togolese President praised President Kufuor, who is also AU Chairman, for his efforts towards the establishment of peace in the region and continent and hailed him as a great friend of Togo.