In line with its mandate of refugee protection, UNHCR Ghana works with Government and Partners in Ghana to offer protection and assistance to thousands of refugees, finding Durable Solutions for many of them.

The term “refugee” as defined by the 1951 Refugee Convention and the extended OAU convention, is someone who “owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country”.  It shall also apply to every person who, owing to external aggression, occupation, foreign domination or events seriously disturbing public order in either part or the whole of his country of origin or nationality, is compelled to leave his place of habitual residence in order to seek refuge in another place outside his country of origin or nationality. Ghana is party to these two refugee conventions.

The demography of the refugee population in Ghana remains women and children in the majority.

Ivorian Refugees

From 2011, UNHCR Ghana and Partners have been hosting primarily Ivorian refugees who form about half of the current refugee population in Ghana. This followed a post-election violence in neighboring Cote d’Ivoire in 2010, Ghana opened its border to host thousands of Ivorian refugees who fled their country to Ghana. For the latest statistics on Ivorian refugees in Ghana, please refer to our Fact Sheet here 

Togolese Refugees

Ghana hosts about 3,500 refugees of Togolese origin, most of whom arrived in 1993-1994 and 2005. Both groups were recognized as refugees by the Government of Ghana on a group basis. A small group of Togolese refugees reside in the Accra metropolitan area and the Krisan camp located in the Western Region of Ghana. The majority of Togolese refugees in Ghana reside mainly in various communities of the Volta Region.

Other Refugees

In addition to the primarily Ivorian and Togolese caseloads, Ghana hosts refugees from many other countries.

Presently, the country hosts refugees from over 30 different countries aside Cote D’Ivoire and Togo including Sudanese, Syrians, Democratic Republic of Congo and Sierra Leoneans among others.

Asylum Seekers

An asylum-seeker is a person who has fled his/her country of origin and formally applied for asylum in another country but whose claim has not yet been concluded.

Every refugee is initially an asylum-seeker, but not every asylum-seeker will ultimately be recognized as a refugee. While they wait for their claim to be accepted or rejected, they are called asylum-seekers.

If an applicant is denied refugee status at the first instance level during refugee status determination (RSD), he/she can appeal this negative decision. Until a final decision is reached, this person remains an asylum-seeker.