Liberian in Ghana toke oath
Liberian Citizenship was conferred on 59 Liberian Refugees in Ghana on Friday November 29, 2013 when they took an oath of allegiance administered by the Charge d’affaires of the Liberian Embassy in Ghana, Mrs. Musu Ruhle. The oath of allegiance is a constitutional procedure required for persons who have one parent being Liberian and the other parent of a nationality. This procedure is necessary because Liberia’s Aliens and Nationality law prohibits dual citizenship except in limited circumstances and therefore such individuals must renounce their other nationality if they wish to be Liberians.
In administering the oath, Mrs. Ruhle reiterated that ‘refugee status’ no longer exists for Liberians as the war has ceased in Liberia and no Liberian citizen has any reason to continue staying in another country as a refugee. She urged as many Liberians who can to still consider the option of going back home to help build their country.
Liberia’s Assistant Minister for Legal Affairs, Mr. David Kolleh emphasized the importance of the procedure urging locally integrating Liberians in Ghana to behave well and be good ambassadors of Liberia.
UNHCR Representative, Madam Sharon J Cooper noted that by close of this year, UNHCR and its partners will complete processes for the about 5,000 Liberians who are still in Ghana (over 3,500 have opted for Local Integration with up to 1500 opting for Exemption from the cessation). Cessation was invoked for Liberian refugees in June 2012.
Ms Cooper thanked the Danish government for its support towards the cash grants to be received by the locally integrating Liberians. She urged the refugees to make good use of the skills training and livelihood opportunities they had benefitted from earlier in order for them to be able to take care of themselves and their families.
Program Coordinator of the Ghana Refugee Board, Mr. Tetteh Padi urged the refugees who have opted to stay in Ghana to continue to be law abiding. He thanked UNHCR and partners for its assistance for Liberian refugees in Ghana for the past two decades.
Meanwhile the third and final vetting mission from Liberia is in Ghana to finalize processes for the issuance of Liberian passports to the remaining applicants for Local Integration. The mission is expected to process about 2,400 Liberian refugees. The vetting process is necessary for both Liberian and Ghanaian Officials to ensure applicants for local integration have gone through processes for the issuance of passports. The 5-member team made up of representatives from the Liberian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization and the Liberia Refugee Repatriation and Resettlement Commission (LRRRC) in Liberia is expected to finish its work by December 15, 2013.
The leader of the Team, Mr. Dorbor Marvie mentioned that two earlier missions to Ghana had registered some ‘no shows’ and over 270 red coded cases. (Cases are Red coded when a claim of Liberian Nationality cannot be confirmed) He noted that LI applicants, who fail to go take advantage of this last mission to go through the process, will remain without documentation that would enable them to regularize their stay in Ghana.
About 3, 500 Liberian refugees who have opted to locally integrate in Ghana are expected to receive Liberian Passports with two year residence permits to be issued by the Ghana Immigration Service. This is in addition to one year registration of National Health Insurance and a one-off cash grant to be received by all locally integrating Liberians.