Voluntary Repatriation Continues
The facilitated voluntary repatriation of Liberian refugees, which commenced on 1 October 2004, continued during the reporting period. The second organized land convoy movement from Sierra Leone transported 79 returnees through Bo Waterside. The 79 returnees stayed at the Sinje Transit Center for a night before they were transported to their drop-off points mainly in Grand Cape Mount County. The returnees received medical treatment, hot meals, a two-month complementary food ration, non-food items and a secondary transportation allowance at the transit center. This brings to total 253 the number of voluntary returnees since the operation started.
Return & Reintegration Activities
During the reporting period, UNHCR started the pre-assessment monitoring in areas of initial return in Grand Cape Mount County. This was aimed at acquainting UNHCR with the prevailing situation in the county. UNHCR is making returnee monitoring a major activity in areas where return is being facilitated. The first cross border meeting took place between staff of UNHCR Liberia and their Ivorian counterparts. The meeting was aimed at working out durable solutions for the safe return of Liberian refugees. UNHCR Field Office in tabou will proceed with the individual registration of Liberian refugees in November. The planning figure of 250 organised returns by the end of December this year remains valid.
A one-day workshop on transit management, medical screening for returnees and community service activities was held. The workshop was attended by several UNHCR implementing partners providing transit services in Gbarnga, Bong County. As part of its efforts to assist the Government of Liberia in restoring basic social services in the rural areas, UNHCR completed arrangement with the Ministry of Education to provide four motorbikes to Zwedru for use by District Education Officers in Grand Gedeh County. In Lofa County, rehabilitation work on two clinics has been completed. The facilities are now providing services for inhabitants of the county. In addition, Peace Winds Japan (PWJ) has completed the activities in its first phase of Shelter and Water projects in Voinjama and is planning to continue in other areas in Lofa County such as Kolahun and Foya.
UNHCR is working closely with others partners to assist spontaneous returnees from the border onward to Harper, Maryland County before further proceeding to their areas of return. Two separate groups of people totaling 34 spontaneously returned from Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire respectively. UNHCR is developing a systematic field approach to deal with spontaneous returnees in terms of assistance as they are people of concern, and therefore given protection and assistance as in the case of those repatriated in organized manner.