GITMO 2: NDC, NPP did Ghana a great disservice – Lawyer

Gitmo 1 The ex-Guantanamo Bay detainees

Tue, 30 Jan 2018 Source: kasapafmonline.com

A private legal practitioner, Oscar Asante Nnuro, wants the citizenry not to single out any political party, especially, the two leading political parties in Ghana, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) for blame in the controversial ex-Guantanamo Bay detainees resettlement in the country.

He wants the blame to be put at the doorsteps of both political parties; the NDC and NPP, for doing what he described a great disservice to mother Ghana.

“This matter is not about the NPP, NDC – it is all about the law. The truth is that both political parties [NDC and NPP] did not help us. This is because we are now being told that under President Mahama’s watch in July 2015, there was an agreement that after the two-period of the stay of the two ex-Guantanamo Bay detainees in Ghana, the Government has the sole responsibility to integrate them in the country. If you look at the refugees Act, you can’t simply revoke their refugees status unless under reasonable grounds. We were all in this country when Nana B and one other took this matter to court and court made a pronouncement that either we sent the duo back to the Americans or we go to Parliament to ratify the agreement. We decided to go to Parliament to ratify the agreement. So, if there should be any revocation, it has to be sent to Parliament to do that”, he noted.

He added “If it is true that they [NDC] did it under secrecy like the deputy Foreign Affairs Minister is saying, the question is when the matter came to Parliament, what due diligence did the NPP, who are in Majority, do and what type of questions did they ask about the details of the agreement?”

Lawyer Nnuro made this observation when interacting with Akwasi Nsiah on Si Me So on Kasapa 102.5 FM.

His comments were in response to an earlier briefing by the Minister for Foreign Affairs & Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, to Parliament over the ex-Guantanamo Bay detainees.

Madam Ayorkor Botchwey had told Members of the legislature that there is no way the Government of Ghana could ensure the exit of the two ex-Guantanamo Bay detainees, Mahmud Omar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby.

According to her, the hands of the Government are tied now considering the bilateral agreement the Mahama-led Government entered into with the United States of America.

The duo, she added, were granted refugee status, making it very difficult to ensure their exit following the expiration of their two-year stay in Ghana.

“They were issued a decision letter dated July 21, 2016, recognizing their status as refugees. The implication is that in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the status of Refugees of 1951 and the 1967 Protocol on the Status of Refugees as well as Provisions of the Refugees Laws, 1992, PNDC Law 305D of Ghana, the two have attained the status of refugees in our country”, she explained.

She added, “The most essential component of refugee status and of asylum is protection against return to a country where a person has reason to fear persecution. This protection has found expression in the principle of non-refoulement which is widely accepted by States. The principle of non-refoulement has been identified in a number of international instruments relating to refugees and in the 1951 United Nations Convention on the Status of refugees, referred to above. It provides that no contracting State shall expel or return a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion. This provision constitutes one of the basic Articles of the 1951 Convention”.

However, Mr. Nnuro believes that if the NPP which took the agreement the NDC-led government entered into with the Government of the United States of America to Parliament to ratify it had done due diligence, the country would have reached where it is now.

Source: kasapafmonline.com
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