Liberian Refugees1

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This is from a presentation I gave to my class in 2004 on Liberian refugees. I also worked at USA for UNHCR at the time.

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Liberian Refugees1

  1. 1. Liberian Refugees Assistance, Protection, and Return Andrew Novak
  2. 2. The Refugees <ul><li>Refugees from Liberia </li></ul><ul><ul><li>145,400 in Guinea </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>55,000 in Sierra Leone </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>67,000 in Côte d’Ivoire </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Refugees in Liberia </li></ul><ul><ul><li>35,000 from Côte d’Ivoire </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>11,500 from Sierra Leone </li></ul></ul>A refugee is any person who, owing to a well-founded fear of persecution or violence, is outside of his or her country of origin and is unwilling or unable to return.
  3. 3. The Internally Displaced <ul><li>There are 464,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Liberia. </li></ul>An internally displaced person (IDP) is, like a refugee, any person uprooted from his or her home, and who is unwilling or unable to return. However, unlike a refugee, an IDP does not cross an international boundary, and remains inside his or her country of origin.
  4. 4. Who Assists Refugees? The primary caretaker of refugees worldwide is the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which operates in 120 countries and assists 25 million people. There is no formal assistance for internally displaced persons. The UN Special Representative for IDPs, Francis Deng, lobbies governments worldwide to raise awareness of the plight of IDPs. Dozens of relief organizations, non-governmental organizations, and religious groups provide assistance to refugees.
  5. 5. Organizations
  6. 6. Where are the Refugees?
  7. 7. Where UNHCR is operating
  8. 8. How UNHCR operates <ul><li>Care and Maintenance Programme </li></ul><ul><ul><li>For Sierra Leonean and Ivorian Refugees in Liberia </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>For Liberian Refugees in Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Côte d’Ivoire </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Repatriation and Reintegration Programme </li></ul><ul><ul><li>For Sierra Leoneans to return to Sierra Leone </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>For Liberians to return to Liberia </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>For Ivorians to return to Côte d’Ivoire </li></ul></ul>All refugees have the right to return home, and it is the goal of UNHCR to voluntarily assist in their return.
  9. 9. How UNHCR operates <ul><li>From its base in Geneva, Switzerland, UNHCR provides humanitarian assistance to refugees in the developing world, and legal assistance to asylum-seekers in the developed world. </li></ul><ul><li>Former Dutch Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers is the UN High Commissioner for Refugees </li></ul><ul><li>UNHCR operates under the mandate of the 1951 Refugee Convention and the 1967 Optional Protocol, that recognize that all refugees have a right to seek refuge and a right to return home. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Hardships: Nature Roads may become impassable in the rainy season.
  11. 11. Hardships: Rebel Violence As many as 58,000 rebel soldiers still operate in Liberia.
  12. 12. Hardships: Political Instability Liberian Refugees in Côte d’Ivoire had to flee political violence there.
  13. 13. Hardships: Legal Issues These IDP children are not eligible for UNHCR assistance.
  14. 14. Hardships: Insecurity <ul><li>The presence of peacekeeping troops may prevent violence and may save lives. </li></ul><ul><li>Peacekeepers and humanitarian staffers, however, have been implicated in sexual abuse scandals. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Hardships: Lack of funding <ul><li>UNHCR estimates that it needs $39 million for Liberian refugees and refugees in Liberia for 2004. </li></ul><ul><li>So far, it has only raised $2.6 million. </li></ul>All donations to UNHCR by governments are voluntary. The United States, the largest donor, gave UNHCR $309 million worldwide for 2003.
  16. 16. Displaced Populations: Sierra Leonian Refugees in Liberia <ul><li>More than 270,000 refugees have returned to Sierra Leone since 2000 now that the country is (more or less) politically stable; 160,000 were assisted by UNHCR. At least 50,000 remain in exile in the region. </li></ul><ul><li>Returnees receive UNHCR assistance to reintegrate into society, to demobilize or disarm, and to rebuild infrastructure and shelters. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Displaced Populations: Ivorian Refugees in Liberia <ul><li>Prior to the outbreak of hostilities in summer 2003, UNHCR provided emergency assistance to 53,000 Ivorian refugees who fled recent violence in Côte d’Ivoire. </li></ul><ul><li>UNHCR plans large-scale repatriations in 2004 to assist the remainder of these refugees to return home. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Displaced Populations: Liberian Returnees <ul><li>By year’s end, about 150,000 refugees will have returned to Liberia and will continue to receive UNHCR assistance to rebuild. </li></ul><ul><li>In 2002, 45,000 returnees from Côte d’Ivoire were forced to flee again in 2003. International relief organizations will work to make sure that refugees’ return is sustainable. </li></ul>
  19. 19. Other actors: World Food Programme <ul><li>The WFP is operating from 6 sites throughout Liberia to assist displaced populations. Food insecurity is rampant except in Grand Gedeh county in the far east and Bong county in the center, where farming has resumed. The eastern region is in the most severe danger. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Where WFP is operating                                                                                           
  21. 21. Other actors: United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) <ul><li>UNICEF is working to reduce infant and maternal mortality rates among displaced populations, to enroll all displaced children in school, and to stop the spread of disease. </li></ul><ul><li>UNICEF’s operation in Liberia is gravely underfunded. </li></ul>
  22. 22. Other actors: World Health Organization <ul><li>Yellow fever and cholera have broken out in Lofa county in February and March 2004 </li></ul><ul><li>WHO earlier provided yellow fever vaccines to all Liberians except residents of Lofa county, inaccessible due to violence. </li></ul>
  23. 23. Sierra Leonean refugees in Monrovia ready to return home.
  24. 24. Liberian refugees in Guinea return home.
  25. 25. Refugees from Sierra Leone in Liberia.
  26. 26. Refugees from Sierra Leone in Sinje camp in Liberia.

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