Liberia + 1 more

UNHCR Liberia: Briefing Notes 23 Aug 2004

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Verification exercise of the remaining Sierra Leonean refugees commences
UNHCR has completed the profiling exercise of Sierra Leonean refugees still refugee camps near Monrovia. Three camp populations were verified (Banjor, VOA and Samukai refugee camps). Prior to the exercise, the remaining Sierra Leonean population was estimated at approximately 4,000. However, at the end of the exercise, 2,368 refugees were registered, photographed and issued with new cards. There are a number of families that need further review as either their names or registration numbers were missing from HCR records. The entire verified caseload will be reviewed order to submit a project to the government according to the needs of the group to assist with their local integration.

UNHCR trained Pakistani Battalion on the Agency's mandate and role

UNHCR organised two days training for the Pakistani battalion based in Vonjama, Lofa county. On the first day Human Rights and Refugee conventions were covered. On Refugee conventions, it was mentioned the elements of refugee definition contained in the 1951 Geneva Convention, and the limitations contained in this convention that led to the 1967 Protocol and the 1969 OAU convention relating to the specific aspects of refugee problems in Africa. The next topic was the role of UNHCR. Details were given on the organisation's mandate as the provider of International Protection and Durable solution. IDPs, Stateless persons and Returnees and how they relate with UNHCR were also part of the programme as well as figures on refugees returnees and IDPs currently cared for by the UN Office in Liberia were also given. The UNHCR facilitators update the participants on the 4R initiative and the Community Empowerment Projects. Certificates will be issued to those who attended the training.

Spontaneous returns continue

Spontaneous returns continue to arrive, particularly in Zwedru and Grand Cape Mount counties. UNHCR is working closely its implementing partners to establish solid monitoring mechanisms to better track the number of returnees in order to prepare for the facilitated return and to monitor their reintegration. In addition, an increasing number of refugees are making spontaneous go-and-see visits into mainly border areas of Liberia to assess the situation before returning permanently to their country. IDPs are also returning to their communities. Following the recent disarmament of MODEL troops and their subsequent removal to cantonment centres in Grand Gedeh, IDPs are gradually starting to return to Lower Nimba. A mission to Graie, Zuolay and Tappita noticed the increase in the population in these areas. A great number of IDPs returned to Graie and Tappita immediately following the disarmament and the departure of MODEL ex-combatants. An estimated 6,000 IDPs residing in unused or incomplete public or private buildings in Saclepea Township are assisted with non-food items besides the provision of plastic rolls for temporary roofing of the buildings they are in.

Reintegration activities

UNHCR's implementing partner, International Medical Corp (IMC) has completed the rehabilitation of clinics in Lofa County and five more clinics are currently under construction. Peace Winds Japan (PJW), another IP has completed the distribution of shelter material to over 5,000 beneficiaries. They have also completed the construction of three primary schools in the area. Meanwhile, the selection of sites for reception centers and way- stations is still ongoing. In view of the facilitated repatriation exercies sites for drop- off points and reception centers have been selected in Zorzor, Voinjama and Salayea. Meanwhile, in Grand Cape Mount, two transit centers are to be constructed at Bo waterside and Sinje.