Ghana

Detains migrants or asylum seekers?

Yes

Has laws regulating migration-related detention?

Yes

Refugees

6,866

2023

Asylum Applications

4,209

2023

International Migrants

476,412

2020

Population

34,100,000

2023

Overview

Ghana does not appear to have dedicated immigration detention facilities, but foreign nationals can potentially be held in criminal custody facilities while awaiting deportation after serving a prison sentence. Ghana's constitution prohibits arbitrary arrest and detention and provides the right to challenge the lawfulness of one's detention.

Types of facilities used for migration-related detention
Administrative Ad Hoc Criminal Unknown

Related Reading

09 September 2020 – Ghana

As of mid-2020, Ghana was hosting more than 12,000 registered refugees and some 400,000 migrants. The online African peace research platform Kujenga Amani reported that Ghana was “slow to recognise the scale of risks posed by restrictive measures such as a partial lockdown, stay at home and border closure, to vulnerable groups in society.” As […]

Read More…

A. Abu-bashal, “Ghana pardons 794 prisoners to curb spread of COVID-19,” Anadolu Agency, 3 July 2020, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/ghana-pardons-794-prisoners-to-curb-spread-of-covid-19/1898022
Last updated:

DETENTION STATISTICS

Migration Detainee Entries
Not Available
2019

DETAINEE DATA

Total Number of Children Placed in Immigration Detention (Year)
0
2017

DETENTION CAPACITY

ALTERNATIVES TO DETENTION

ADDITIONAL ENFORCEMENT DATA

PRISON DATA

Criminal Prison Population (Year)
13,068
2017
14,416
2014
13,507
2010
13,335
2007
11,581
2004
10,444
2001
8,364
1998
7,727
1995
Percentage of Foreign Prisoners (Year)
6.8
2017
4.5
2009
Prison Population Rate (per 100,000 of National Population)
47
2017
55
2014
55
2010
59
2007
55
2004
53
2001
46
1998
45
1995

POPULATION DATA

Population (Year)
34,100,000
2023
31,100,000
2020
27,410,000
2015
International Migrants (Year)
476,412
2020
466,780
2019
399,500
2015
International Migrants as Percentage of Population (Year)
1.53
2020
1.5
2015
Refugees (Year)
6,866
2023
8,531
2022
11,897
2021
12,406
2020
11,946
2019
11,899
2018
12,156
2017
11,851
2016
17,406
2015
18,450
2014
Ratio of Refugees Per 1000 Inhabitants (Year)
0.42
2016
0.69
2014
Asylum Applications (Year)
4,209
2023
2,517
2022
490
2019
1,159
2016
1,043
2014
Refugee Recognition Rate (Year)
96.5
2014
Stateless Persons (Year)
0
2022
0
2016
0
2015

SOCIO-ECONOMIC DATA & POLLS

Gross Domestic Product per Capita (in USD)
1,441
2014
Remittances to the Country (in USD)
126
2014
Unemployment Rate
2014
Net Official Development Assistance (ODA) (in Millions USD)
1,116.4
2014
Human Development Index Ranking (UNDP)
140 (Medium)
2016
Pew Global Attitudes Poll on Immigration
71
2007

LEGAL & REGULATORY FRAMEWORK

Does the Country Detain People for Migration, Asylum, or Citizenship Reasons?
Yes
2021
Does the Country Have Specific Laws that Provide for Migration-Related Detention?
Yes
2023
Yes
2000
Detention-Related Legislation
Immigration Act 2000 (Act 573) (2000)
2000
Legal Tradition(s)
Customary law
2017
Common law
2017

GROUNDS FOR DETENTION

Children & Other Vulnerable Groups
Unaccompanied minors No
2019

LENGTH OF DETENTION

DETENTION INSTITUTIONS

PROCEDURAL STANDARDS & SAFEGUARDS

COSTS & OUTSOURCING

COVID-19 DATA

TRANSPARENCY

MONITORING

NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS MONITORING BODIES

NATIONAL PREVENTIVE MECHANISMS (OPTIONAL PROTOCOL TO UN CONVENTION AGAINST TORTURE)

NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANISATIONS (NGOs)

GOVERNMENTAL MONITORING BODIES

INTERNATIONAL DETENTION MONITORING

INTERNATIONAL TREATIES & TREATY BODIES

International Treaties Ratified
Ratification Year
Observation Date
VCCR, Vienna Convention on Consular Relations
1963
2017
ICERD, International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
1966
2017
ICESCR, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
2000
2017
ICCPR, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
2000
2017
CEDAW, Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
1986
2017
CAT, Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
2009
2017
CRC, Convention on the Rights of the Child
1990
2017
CRPD, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
2012
2017
ICRMW, International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families
2000
2017
CRSR, Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees
1963
2017
CTOCTP, Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children
2012
2017
CTOCSP, Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime
2012
2017
OPCAT, Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
2016
2016
Ratio of relevant international treaties ratified
Ratio: 13/19
Individual Complaints Procedures
Acceptance Year
CRPD, Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2012
2012
CAT, declaration under article 22 of the Convention 2000
2000
ICCPR, First Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966 2000
2000
Ratio of Complaints Procedures Accepted
Observation Date
3/8
2017
Relevant Recommendations or Observations Issued by Treaty Bodies
Recommendation Year
Observation Date
Committee on Migrant Workers "the committee recalls that administrative detention should only be used as a last resort, and recommends that the state party consider alternatives to administrative detention. it further recommends that the state party: (a) include in its second periodic report detailed disaggregated information on the number of migrant workers detained for immigration offences and the place, average duration and conditions of their detention; (b) ensure that migrant workers detained for violations of immigration law are held in special facilities, separately from ordinary prisoners; (c) provide updated information, including disaggregated statistics, on the numbers of expulsions as well as the procedures used; (d) ensure that the minimum guarantees enshrined in the convention are assured with regard to criminal or administrative charges against migrant workers and members of their families." 2014
2014
2014

> UN Special Procedures

> UN Universal Periodic Review

Relevant Recommendations or Observations from the UN Universal Periodic Review
Observation Date
No 2012
2017
No 2008
2017

> Global Compact for Migration (GCM)

GCM Resolution Endorsement
Observation Date
2018

> Global Compact on Refugees (GCR)

GCR Resolution Endorsement
Observation Date
2018

REGIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS MECHANISMS

Regional Legal Instruments
Year of Ratification (Treaty) / Transposed (Directive) / Adoption (Regulation)
Observation Date
APRW, Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol) 2007
2007
2017
ACRWC, African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child 2005
2005
2017
ACHPR, African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights 1989
1989
2017

HEALTH CARE PROVISION

HEALTH IMPACTS

COVID-19

Country Updates
As of mid-2020, Ghana was hosting more than 12,000 registered refugees and some 400,000 migrants. The online African peace research platform Kujenga Amani reported that Ghana was “slow to recognise the scale of risks posed by restrictive measures such as a partial lockdown, stay at home and border closure, to vulnerable groups in society.” As a result, Ghana’s migrant and refugee communities, already adversely affected by socio-economic exclusion, have faced even harsher challenges during the Covid-19 crisis. Although the Global Detention Project has not identified dedicated immigration detention sites in the country, Ghana has emphasised immigration control measures in its policy statements. After the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the government threatened to deport non-nationals who test positive for the disease. However, as of writing, the government does not appear to have followed through on these threats. According to media reports, for Guinean and Burkina Faso nationals, repatriation was halted due to the lack of cooperation from their respective governments. Nevertheless, the threats of deportation have caused panic among refugees and migrants, some of whom have reportedly fled isolation centres or refused offers for medical treatment. On 17 March, prison visits were limited to one per prisoner, once per week, and two-week isolation was implemented for every new prisoner. In 2019, the country’s 44 prisons had on average a 155 percent occupancy rate. This overcrowding was denounced on 26 June by the POS foundation, which urged the government to release prisoners who had committed minor non-violent offences. The President of Ghana had pardoned 1,602 prisoners by 2 July, as a measure to reduce the overcrowding in prisons. However, several prisoners have reportedly tested positive to Covid-19 in Accra, Tamale, and Kumasi prisons. In Tamale prison, prisoners and prison staff were being randomly tested back in May, but there does not seem to be any national plan to implement sanitary measures in prisons.
Did the country release immigration detainees as a result of the pandemic?
Unknown
2021
Did the country use legal "alternatives to detention" as part of pandemic detention releases?
Unknown
2021
Did the country Temporarily Cease or Restrict Issuing Detention Orders?
Unknown
2021
Did the Country Adopt These Pandemic-Related Measures for People in Immigration Detention?
Unknown (Unknown) Unknown Unknown Unknown
2021
Did the Country Lock-Down Previously "Open" Reception Facilities, Shelters, Refugee Camps, or Other Forms of Accommodation for Migrant Workers or Other Non-Citizens?
Unknown
2021
Were cases of COVID-19 reported in immigration detention facilities or any other places used for immigration detention purposes?
Unknown
2021
Did the Country Cease or Restrict Deportations/Removals During any Period After the Onset of the Pandemic?
No
2021
Did the Country Release People from Criminal Prisons During the Pandemic?
Yes
2020
Did Officials Blame Migrants, Asylum Seekers, or Refugees for the Spread of COVID-19?
Unknown
2021
Did the Country Restrict Access to Asylum Procedures?
Yes
2020
Did the Country Commence a National Vaccination Campaign?
Yes
2021
Were Populations of Concern Included/Excluded From the National Vaccination Campaign?
Unknown (Unknown) Unknown Unknown Unknown
2021