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General News | Jun 19, 2004

Government committed to finding solutions to refugee flows

GNA

Accra, June 19, GNA - Mr Peter Ala Adjetey, Speaker of Parliament on Saturday said the Government was committed to finding a more effective and preventive measures at national, regional and international levels to address the root causes of refugee flows and other forms of forced displacements.

"No one can doubt that Ghana is committed to playing a constructive role in preventing the eruption or continuation of armed conflicts. We are determined to find durable solutions to the plight of refugees, while continuing to provide effective protection", he said.

However, he noted, all concerned needed to recognize that good governance, observance of the rule of law and the respect for human rights were the best forms of prevention, while also contributing to peace, stability and economic development.

Mr Adjetey was speaking in Accra at a concert organized by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Ghana Refugees Board to mark this year's celebration of the "World Refugee Day" which falls on June 20.

This year's celebration is under the theme: "Refugee Solutions - A Place to Call Home".

Mr Adjetey noted that as a result of ongoing peace processes in Africa, and with the firm support of the African Union and its member states, there was an enormous potential for durable and sustainable solutions to refugee problems, especially voluntary repatriation and reintegration into their homelands.

He said these opportunities were largely due to the substantial contributions, which the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), the AU's Peace and Security Council, as well as ECOWAS, had made to promote economic development and the maintenance of peace and stability in Africa.

Mr Adjetey noted that even as government found lasting solutions to the refugee problem, refugees themselves must be encouraged to be self-reliant.

This, he said, was an important means to decreasing dependency and maximizing the initiative and potential contributions of refugees, adding that the success of durable solutions depended largely on the availability of adequate resources.

Mr Adjetey therefore called on all to foster a positive attitude towards refugees and displaced persons, so as to improve their protection and ensure their contribution to the socio-economic development of their host countries.

"I want to encourage all to refrain from perpetuating negative stereotypes about refugees and to ensure that they are not exploited." He urged the UNHCR, development partners and international and regional financial institutions, to redouble their efforts to support frontline countries of asylum like Ghana, to promote and encourage the self reliance of refugees to sustain reintegration on their return to their home countries.

In a message read for him to mark the Day, UN Secretary-General Mr Kofi Annan, said the generosity of asylum countries in providing shelter to refugees in their time of need should not be forgotten and called on all to use the Day to rededicate themselves to that mission. He said the spirit of generosity and sustained support was needed from the international community if the world was to succeed in giving millions of refugees and displaced persons a place to call home. The Diplomatic Corps, Parliamentarians, Government officials and representatives of the refugee communities in the country attended the concert.

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