UNHCR has facilitated a 3-member team of the West African Examination Team (WAEC) to travel to Guinea to administer the WAEC exams to Liberian refugee students in the four refugee camps in Nzerekore and Kissidougou. The Examination team comprising of three male supervisors departed Monrovia on 31 July overland to N'zerekore, Guinea and will return on 12 August. A total of 1,600 senior and junior students are expected to sit the test in the refugee camps. It is part of UNHCR's mandate to ensure the basic rights of refugees are maintained. As part of plans to sustain the return of Liberian refugees who have returned to Liberia and those awaiting the UNHCR organized voluntary repatriation on 1 October, UNHCR has embarked on major school rehabilitation projects in counties with high rate of returnees. This is also intended to encourage educational activities and voluntary return of Liberian refugees in neighbouring countries and IDPs to their original communities. UNHCR has signed sub-agreements with implementing partners such as Peace Winds Japan PWJ, Danish Refugee Council DRC, Liberian United to served humanity LUSH and ZOA to rehabilitate and construct over 168 schools in Lofa, Maryland, River Gee, Grand Kru, Margibi, Grand Bassa and Montserrado Counties. Arrangements are been made to continue the rehabilitation of schools with other implementing partners. Meanwhile, twelve of the fourteen UNHCR DAFI students will graduate in September 2004 after four years of university studies at the AME University. They are presently doing interim ship in their various disciplines.
UNHCR hosts 2nd Regional Repatriation Review meeting
UNHCR is hosting the 2nd Regional Repatriation Review meeting. The meeting, which brings together colleagues from asylum countries, will develop the framework under which the repatriation activity is to be carried out. The meeting will among other things look at the commencement of the Volrep registration, registration of self-repatriants, data base information sharing and modalities of entries and movement phase. It also intends to review the tripartite agreement and harmonization of communication, information dissemination and other services.The Special Representative of the Secretary General, Mr. Jacques Paul Klein, in his opening remarks emphasized the successful DDRR process, the security improvements in the country with the full deployment of UNMIL troops, the reintegration activities currently in place and the preparation of the October 2005's elections.
Residual caseload of Sierra Leonean refugees would soon be verified
In preparation of the planned verification exercises for the residual caseload of Sierra Leonean refugees at the camps, a meeting was held with the leadership and a cross-section of refugees to inform them about the planned exercise. Issues addressed included, modalities for the exercise, unverified individual cases, and family re-unification. The refugees were advised that the exercise would be limited to those who are in possession of valid ration cards as well those who misplaced their cards but with whose names are still in our database. Other cases would be dealt with on an individual case-by-case basis. UNHCR will shortly embark on a verification profiling exercise of the residual caseload of the Sierra Leonean refugees in the three camps near Monrovia. The objective of the exercise is to scrutinize current refugee document, ascertain nationality and review of the socio-economic background and vulnerability. The profiling of the residual population to determine the appropriate durable solution would follow the exercise. Questions, concerns, and clarifications from the refugees are expected to be addressed accordingly. For the purposes of local integration, naturalization will be pursued vigorously with the Government of Liberia since, in fact, the Liberian Constitution (Article 27b refers) is in favour of this solution for Sierra Leonean refugees.
Currently there are nearly 4,000 Sierra Leonean refugees who remain in the camps. It is believed that many of these people are not genuine cases and the exercise is intended to know the actual number of genuine cases. After this, UNHCR will further review the situation to determine the suitability of the conduct of the Refugee Status Determination (RSD).
It is projected that after the verification exercise the residual caseload will further reduced. The amount of perceived and real threats to the remaining caseload and the successful discussions with the government and local community and civil society to support the Sierra Leonean refugee integration should influence UNHCR's future decision of expensive RSD procedures. A further consolidation of these reasons and remaining verified caseload profile will be consolidated and reported and on individual cases, which are determined to be in need of protection, will be examined.