He explained that Ghana had, on the onset of the Liberians Civil War in 1989/90, received and hosted several thousands of Liberian refugees who had fled the conflict, in the spirit of African Unity and brotherliness.
He said the country’s door had been opened since independence and recounted how Ghana had received the ill feted “Bulk Challenge” ship carrying hundreds of Liberians fleeing the conflict in 1996 as it drifted helplessly on the high seas after it had been rejected by almost every country on the west coast of Africa.
The minister said Ghana had played a very active and pivotal role in the search for peace in Liberia and also contributed troops to peace-keeping operations to the extent that Ghanaians lives had been lost in the search for the peace in Liberia.
He said Liberian refugees fled to Ghana because of the civil conflict which had presently ended, with the country returning to democratic rule and normalcy, adding that the government signed a tripartite agreement in September 2004, for voluntary repatriation, which ended on June 30, 2007.
“All Liberian refugees in Ghana are refugees under the 1969 OAU Convention governing the specific aspects of the refugee problems in Africa and not under the 1951 UN Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol. No Liberian refugee in Ghana is here on account of war of prosecution and it is the belief of the government that the vast majority of them can return to Liberia in safety and dignity, he said.
The minister of the interior said for the past five years, there had been absolute peace in Liberia and over one million refugees had returned home.