High-level mission to Harper (Maryland)
The closure of the Little Wlebo Camp (LWC) in Harper and the relocation of refugees to surrounding communities as part of the joint UNHCR-LRRRC local integration (LI) strategy, led to some misunderstandings by the local authorities on the process overall. UNHCR and the Government of Liberia (GoL), through LRRRC has had several discussions with the local authorities to clarify the process and next steps, including a high-level mission.
On 8 November 2018, the Minister of Internal Affairs (MIA) led a delegation to Harper, after which issues were clarified following meetings with the County Superintendent, host communities and the refugee population.
The delegation was comprised of the Minister of Internal Affairs (MIA), Hon. Varney Sirleaf; Deputy MIA for Research and Planning, Hon. Olayee Collins; LRRRC Executive Director (ED), Rev. Festus R.B. Logan; LRRRC Deputy Director Alphonso Wallace; and UNHCR Officer in Charge, Terna Abbo; UNHCR Head of Sub-Office Zwedru, Fortunata Ngonyani; as well as UNHCR staff from Zwedru and Harper.
As a result of the successful mission, Maryland County authorities agreed to work together with UNHCR and LRRRC; and members of the host community stated having a clear understanding of the process. Some requests made by local authorities and members of the host communities will be taken into consideration when implementing the local integration strategy.
It can be recalled that after LWC closes, UNHCR will continue to support Ivorian refugees who wish to voluntarily repatriate to Cote d’Ivoire, as well as those who will be integrating in nine selected host communities in Maryland County or relocating to PTP Camp (Grand Gedeh County).
Local Integration Retreat
On 20-22 November 2018, the Government of Liberia, through LRRRC and with the support of UNHCR, held a retreat on local integration of Ivorian refugees in Liberia. The objective was to prepare a joint national strategy of the local integration of Ivorian refugees in the country.
Group discussions took place throughout the retreat taking into consideration the three dimensions of the local integration process: economic, social and legal aspect.
Participants included Ivorian refugees; host communities; the African Union Special Representative to Liberia; the Liberian Immigration Service (LIS); UNICEF; FAO; WFP;
UNDP; IOM; partners; as well as technical focal points of the ministries of Internal Affairs,
Finance, Justice, Gender, Education and Health.
On 22 November 2018, the morning session was attended by the Minister of Internal Affairs (MIA) Hon. Varney Sirleaf; Resident Representative of the ECOWAS Commission President in Liberia, Amb. Tunde Ajisomo; the Deputy Minister of Justice, Cllr. Nyenanti Tuan; Former Minister of Foreign Affairs and former UNHCR Africa Bureau Director, Marjon Kamara;
Acting Commissioner of the Liberia Immigration Service, Commissioner Moses Yebleh; and the Second Counsellor of the Ivorian Embassy in Liberia, Mr Bruce-Jacob Gbadji.