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Apostolic Nuncio to Ghana gives hope to asylum seekers at Tarikom

The Apostolic Nuncio to Ghana, the Most Reverend Henryk Mieczyslaw Jagodzinski, has visited and interacted with the asylum seekers at Tarikom in the Bawku West District of the Upper East Region.

The visit of the Representative of the Holy Father, Pope Francis, was to get first-hand information about the situation regarding the asylum seekers and inspire hope among the victims to enable them to continue to trust in God.

As part of the visit, the Apostolic Nuncio prayed with and for them through the celebration of the Holy Mass indicating that ‘We find strength and comfort in Christ despite the difficulties, and we need to renew our commitment with God’.

The Apostolic Nuncio also donated hygiene materials such as boxes of washing and bathing soap, toothpaste and brushes among others to the asylum seekers.

He said issues of the poor and vulnerable were of great concern to the Holy Father, Pope Francis and he had established a special office termed as ‘Dicastery of Integral Human Development,’ to work toward
s finding relief for people who were suffering.

Most Reverend Jagodzinski commended the government of Ghana and other stakeholders including the host communities, for accepting and hosting the asylum seekers and called for stronger partnership to help them live dignified lives.

‘It is very sad when you are forced to leave your home, but this should encourage us not to be in despair but to trust in God and His mercy. I also encourage people who have something to give, to come and support the asylum seekers,’ he said.

He pleaded with world leaders to work collaboratively to curb activities of violent extremists, to help reduce the number of displaced persons resulting from extremists’ attacks and related violence.

In the early parts of 2023, there were multiple suspected terrorists’ attacks on Bugri, Zoago and Zabre among other border communities in Burkina Faso compelling over 4,000 people at the time, to flee to Ghana and spread across several communities in the Bawku Municipal, Bawku West and Binduri Dis

The UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency in collaboration with the Ghana Refugee Board, led a comprehensive humanitarian response leading to the relocation of the asylum seekers to Tarikom where 12 hectares of land had been provided.

Through collaboration with agencies of the government of Ghana and other organisations such as World Vision, the Navrongo-Bolgatanga Catholic Diocesan Development Organisation among others, the UNHCR constructed reception and resettlement centres with various amenities for the asylum seekers.

Mr Djerassam Mbaiorem, the Head of UNHCR in charge of Upper East and Upper West Regions, said about 15,000 asylum seekers had been recorded in the two regions and out of the number, 8,000 were in the Upper East Region.

However, currently only 1,100 asylum seekers were at the resettlement centre although reception and resettlement centres had the capacity to contain about 7,000 people, he said.

He said the others were residing in other areas and did not want to come, saying although Ghan
a had an open policy for asylum seekers, it was the government that determined where they should stay for security reasons.

Mr Mbaiorem said all the refugees were expected to stay at Tarikom, so the UNHCR was working with the Ghana Refugee Board, regional authorities and other stakeholders to encourage the rest to report to the centre for their proper upkeep.

Source: Ghana News Agency