World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

Liberia: Largest refugee batch return since 2004

UN agency helps largest batch of refugees return home to Liberia since 2004

More than 550 refugees who fled Liberia’s brutal civil war arrived home over the past week – the largest batch since the UN refugee agency began its repatriation programme in the fall of 2004, and less than two weeks since Liberia’s newly elected president urged her countrymen to return.

It was the first glimpse of Liberia in several years for many of the 560 Liberians whom headed back to Lofa County on 21 January. This latest convoy from Sierra Leone boosted the number of refugees brought home by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and its partners since October 2004 to 6,559.

In a video for UNHCR recorded shortly before her 16 January inauguration, Liberia’s new president, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, pledged that her Government will work with the agency and its partners to help refugees settle in, find work and obtain basic services.

The president’s filmed message was part of a UNHCR mass information campaign for some 190,000 Liberian refugees scattered across West Africa.

Andrew Mayne, UNHCR deputy representative in Sierra Leone, said the large number of refugees in this latest convoy showed Liberians’ strong desire to go home. “UNHCR is committed to assisting those refugees who want to go back to Liberia to do so as soon as possible, both in safety and dignity,” he said.

Many of the refugees fled Liberia in 2000 to escape the brutal war that plagued the country during the rule of Charles Taylor. Sierra Leone has harboured more than 60,000 refugees and still hosts about 39,000 registered Liberian refugees in eight camps in the eastern and southern part of the country.

Poor road conditions forced the suspension of return operations between July and November 2005, but convoys resumed in late December and are now running each week.

Refugees are given food and supplies before departure and then given a cash grant when they arrive in Liberia so they can head to their final destination. Another two months of food assistance is provided to the returnees in Liberia and UNHCR operates programs to help the refugees integrate into their homeland. The establishment of a democratically elected Government in Liberia culminates the peace process envisaged in the Accra Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 18 August 2003. During this period, the UN peacekeeping mission in Liberia (UNMIL) supported national efforts to achieve the transition to democracy by providing a secure environment, disarming more than 100,000 ex-combatants, facilitating the return of tens of thousands of displaced persons and refugees, and helping organize the recent free and fair elections.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: Zimbabwe - Meet The New Bosses

At 75, Mnangagwa is not exactly what you’d call a new broom. As many observers have pointed out, his track record has been one of unswerving dedication to Mugabe ever since the days of anti-colonial insurgency... To these guys, things had to change in Zimbabwe, so that things could remain the same. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: Is This Guy The World’s Most Dangerous Thirtysomething?

Saudi Arabia has long been regarded as a pillar of stability in the Middle East, and is the essential caterer to the West’s fossil fuel needs. It is also the country that gave us Osama Bin Laden, al Qaeda, and 15 of the 19 terrorists who carried out the 9/11 attacks... More>>

ALSO:

Non-Binding Postal Vote: Australia Says Yes To Same Sex Marriage

Binoy Kampmark: Out of 150 federal seats, 133 registered affirmative totals in returning their response to the question “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?”. More>>

ALSO:

Bonn Climate Change Conference: Protecting Health In Small Island States

The vision is that, by 2030, all Small Island Developing States will have health systems that are resilient to climate change and countries around the world will be reducing their carbon emissions both to protect the most vulnerable from climate risks and deliver large health benefits in carbon-emitting countries. More>>

ALSO: