- The international community has been urged to pile pressures on the Ghanaian government and the UNHCR to protect the human rights of refugees in Ghana.
The followed the arrest, detention and alleged mistreatment of protesting Liberian refugees in Buduburam refugee camp on Monday.
Ghanaian authorities accused the refugees of disturbing public peace, including conducting "nude" protest, a claim vehemently denied by non-governmental organisations.
In a petition The Niapele Project, which operates from Buduburam camp, urged the Ghanaian government to allow a delegate of International Committee of the Red Cross to have access to the detainees, suspend revocation of refugees' status and deportation pending new negotiations involving all concerned stakeholders take place.
The petition also asked the "UNHCR to institute a plan for disengagement of their services on the settlement and a transition to new status for Liberians in Ghana. UNHCR is advised to form a new contract with the Ghanaian government on the rights and protection of Liberians during this transitional time.
Refugee protection groups blamed the police armed with tear gas and machine for mistreating armless women refugees involved in a peaceful sit-in protest.
"Life on camp has been disrupted by this, but violence never broke out, and the movement remained peaceful and orderly," the petition defended, describing the government's action as "disproportionate" and that "media coverage of this situation is worryingly skewed towards the Ghanaian perspective, and the plight of Liberians is being misconstrued and misrepresented."
It said most Liberian refugees are "too traumatized to ever return", despite the end of war. This means that voluntary repatriation is not a viable for all displaced Liberians.
Several factors, including increased levels of criminality and gender based and poor health services rock post-conflict Liberia.
"The residents of Buduburam have created their own little Liberia in Ghana, building their own housing and schools, giving birth to new generations of Liberians and clinging to their identity as Liberians while struggling to provide for themselves and their families," the petition said.
Despite closing its doors to the community, resettlement opportunities in the Buduburam camp remains strong. In the absence of resettlement, new compromises on their fate need to be reached.
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