Accra, Nov. 11, GNA – The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), a UN Refugee Agency on Saturday organised a public solidarity walk dubbed, “Step for Safety” to unite families and individuals who have been forced to flee their homes across Africa.

The walk, which also took place in other African counties including Kenya on September 23, 2018 included refugees’ journey exhibition, musical performances by celebrities and market stalls as part of the Agency’s “LuQuLuQu campaign”. LuQuLuQu is a social movement created by UNHCR and inspired by the strength of the African Philosophy of “Ubuntu and Ujamaa”, the notion of sharing resources and caring for one another.

The participants started the walk at the Accra Polo Club, proceeded along the Liberation road to 37 Hospital intersection and back to the Club using the Giffard road. There had been massive force displacement across the world, and 68.5 million people were forced to flee in 2017. In Africa alone, 24.2 million men, women, and children have fled their homes because of violence, conflict or persecution. Moreover, over 76 per cent of this number make up the world’s most vulnerable populations, thus, women and children.Therefore, the walk symbolised the commitment of the refugees to stand together and support them with critical life-saving assistance and protection.

It was also to raise awareness on the plight of refugees in other countries and raise funds to support them in their welfare.Ms Esther Kiragu, Representative of UNHCR said the campaign was also to create awareness of the resilience of refugees after experiencing maltreatments and celebrate their strength and ability to fight for their welfare and continuity of life.She said the campaign was also to raise awareness that refugees were part of Ghanaians and needed to be protected and treated with respect and dignity.“As you know, the 2030 Agenda is about leaving no one behind and promoting sustainable development and we are all required to be a part of it”, she said.

Ms Kiragu said the exercise would also be carried in many other African countries including Burkina Faso and Senegal.Mr Samuel Nartey George, the Member of Parliament for the Ningo-Prampram Constituency said he took part in the exercise to support the refugees because anybody could be a refugee, a state he said they never wished for.He said there were over 13,000 refugees in Ghana and appealed to the public to support them with any amount by dialling *170# on their mobile phones through all networks; and then, go to general payment and type UNHCR to make their donations.

He called on the Government to rectify the two conventions on statelessness to allow an integration of refugees into the Ghanaian communities.Mr Tetteh Padi, the Programme Coordinator of the Ghana Refugees Board said there were four refugee camps in Ghana and 50 per cent of the refugees lived in the camps while the remaining live in the Ghanaian dominated communities.He said it was therefore, important to highlight the presence of the refugees and how they also contributed to economic development through their vocations.

He appealed to the public to donate cash or kind to the refugees through the Ghana Refugees Board, adding that, funding had become a challenge for the UNHCR, a situation, which made them only support the most vulnerable groups in Africa.

Source : Ghana News Agency