African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR)

The ACHPR is a quasi-jurisdictional body, within the framework of the African Union, whose main function is to protect and promote human and people´s rights in African countries. Among its functions are to process complaints from individuals or States about human rights violations committed by States in the region, and to receive periodic reports from States on the human rights situation in their country.

News from the ACHPR:

– On July 21, 2023, the ACHPR issued a statement expressing concern over the expulsion of more than 200 Burkinabe refugees and asylum seekers by Ghanaian authorities. The events began on July 11, 2023, when the Ghanaian armed forces started the forced deportations of refugees and asylum seekers from Burkina Faso who were fleeing the deteriorating security situation in the country due to the activity of armed groups. Since 2019, Burkina Faso has become the epicenter of violence by armed groups, especially non-state armed ones such as Ansarul Islam and the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara, which remain active in the country. The consequences of this context can be seen in the vast number of people who have left the country (since 2019 more than 1,800,000 people).

The ACHPR condemned the deportations and the treatment that Ghana offered to Burkinabe refugees and asylum seekers, recalling that such action violates the principle of non-refoulement present in the Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa, to which Ghana is a State Party. The ACHPR recalled that, under this principle, which is contained in Article 2(3) of the Convention, the State is obliged to take all necessary measures to guarantee assistance and protection to refugees and asylum seekers in its territory. In this sense, expelling them to a territory where their safety is at risk violates the provisions of the Convention. In addition, the ACHPR also noted that the actions of the State of Ghana also violated the African Charter, since respect for human dignity, human security, and the right to choose one’s residence were not observed. The ACHPR urged Ghana to respect the rights contained in the African Charter and the Refugee Convention and to ensure the protection of Burkinabe refugees and asylum seekers. The press release can be found here.