Ghana : President to meet refugees as one sues

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A Liberian government delegation is scheduled to meet President John Agyekum Kufuor on Wednesday for talks on the standoff between the government and Liberian refugees in Ghana.

The talks would be held against the background of a refugee suing the government over his “missing” wife.

Patrick Ahossouhe has filed a writ of habeas corpus against the Minister of the Interior and Inspector General of Police to produce his wife Ms Chicider Lawrence who was one of those removed from the Gomoa Buduburam refugee camp, just west of Accra, to Kordiabe in the Eastern Region.

Talks between Ghanaian and Liberia officials on the subject could not resolve all the problems and a second round of discussions was scheduled for the next day or two, the Deputy Minister of Information Frank Agyekum said.

The Liberian delegation is in Accra for talks following government’s evacuation of more than 600 refugees who had been staging an illegal demonstration at the refugee camp, and the deportation of 16 of them last Saturday.

The Ghana government planned to deport more refugees but stayed the action for the talks to resolve the issue. The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) has also asked the Ghana government to halt the deportations while ordering the refugees to obey the laws of the host country where they have lived for 18 years.

The refugees have been demanding 1,000 US dollars repatriation fee and repatriation to the US.

Agyekum said the two sides remained committed to reaching mutually beneficial conclusions at the meetings.

Ahossouhe filed the habeas corpus writ on Tuesday at the Accra Fast Track High C ourt against his wife’s arrest and detention, together with more than 630 others , at the Kordiabe Training Centre saying this is illegal.

The writ was filed on her behalf by two human rights activists – Mr Tuinese Edward Amuzu of Legal Resources Centre and Nana Oye Lithur of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative.

The writ is asking the Minister and the IGP to justify the arrest and continued detention of Ms Lawrence and reasons why the court should not order her release.

It is also asking the two officials to be restrained from taking “any further action inconsistent with her refugee status”. The case would be heard on April 2.

In his application in support of the motion, Ahossouhe said the arrest and subsequent detention of her wife and the 630 others beyond 48 hours without recourse to the courts was unlawful.

It said on March 22, some men from the Buduburam camp were also arrested, detained and subsequently deported on the same day.

He said he believed that there were preparations to deport Ms Lawrence and others at Kordiabe and asked the court to order the Minister and IGP to produce the bodies of the persons in detention and justify their continued detention. Panapress.

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