Liberia + 5 more

UNHCR Liberia: Briefing Notes 10 May 2005

News and Press Release
Originally published
UNHCR Regional Representatives' meeting ends in Monrovia

UNHCR Representatives from six major countries hosting Liberian refugees at a two-day repatriation review meeting agreed on enhancing efforts to repatriate Liberian refugees from neighboring countries such as Sierra Leone, Guinea, Cote d'Ivoire, Nigeria and Ghana. This meeting was a follow-up to previous meetings held at the regional level to discuss pproblems encountered so far in the facilitated voluntary return process and decide on solutions. Poor road conditions and the enormous need arising from the 14-year long civil war have made the repatriation process extremely difficult. Despite the challenges, UNHCR has rehabilitated 120 km of roads and repaired 26 bridges. It has rebuilt 100 schools and 40 clinics throughout Liberia. In addition to its normal mandate UNHCR also assists in the return of IDPs in Liberia and has made significant resource allocations to ensure the return of IDPs.

Repatriation exercise

A convoy of ninety-eight Liberian returnees from Danane, Cote d' Ivoire, was received via Luguotuo, Nimba County. UNHCR along with its implementing partners and UNMIL/GoL security apparatus ensured that the returnees received the necessary protection and assistance. Returnees were assisted with travel grants, Non Food Items, two months food ration, and accommodation at the Ganta Transit Center while unaccompanied minors were placed in the protection of UNHCR's implementing partner, International Rescue Committee, involved with Child Protection monitoring. The returnees were designated for fivve counties, namely, Nimba, Grand Gedeh, Sinoe, Montserrado, and Bong Counties.

Repatriation convoys continue to be received from asylum countries mainly Sierra Leone and Guinea. To date, UNHCR has helped facilitate the return of 14,755 Liberian refugees from the region. Refugees, however, have made their way home by their own initiative in demonstration of their confidence in the peace progress.

Meanwhile, UNHCR continues to play a key role in the IDP return movement in terms of transport grant and non-food items, and accommodation at exiting transit sites. As of 06 May 2005, the total of 135,339 IDPs have been assisted to return to their communities of origin since the exercise was inaugurated on 08 November 2004.

Reintegration activity

UNHCR along with its implementing partners continue to monitor progress on Community Empowerment Projects carried out in communities of return. In Bong County, the monitoring mission reported significant progress in the construction of the clinic in Frelela, midwifery home in Zeansue and the Women Development Center for skills training in Suakoko. The community members in these places are actively participating in the developmental activities.

Also, efforts to solicit the participation of community members continue to be pursued. Sixty-one proposals in various sectors (education, health, sanitation) were received from the Districts Development Councils in some districts in Nimba County.

In western Liberia, a UNHCR implementing partner, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) completed the distribution of seeds and tools provided by UNHCR. CARITAS, also a UNHCR implementing partner started the distribution of seed rice for upland farm for Ivorian refugees in Grand Gedeh. The agency also commenced giving papoo used for local shelter construction. In Grand Cape Mount, the Environmental Foundation for Africa (EFA) deployed its staff to implement UNHCR sponsored environmental activities in schools and communities. Discussions have also taken place between UNHCR and six of its implementing partners to review progress and constraints in the implementation of UNHCR funded reintegration activities.

Table on UNHCR Assisted Return

Sierra Leone
Cote d'Ivoire