Monrovia – UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency’s Regional Bureau Director for West and Central Africa, Madam Millicent Mutuli has completed a humanitarian assessment mission of refugees arriving from Côte d’Ivoire into Liberia, especially concentrated in the areas of Nimba and Grand Gedeh counties.
She was accompanied by the Executive Director of the Liberia Refugee Repatriation Resettlement Commission (LRRRC) Hon. Rev. Festus R. B. Logan and UNHCR Liberia Country Representative, Madam Roseline Okoro between Friday 4 December – Sunday 6 December 2020.
The UNHCR Regional Director also had the honor of the UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Kingsley Opoku Amaning to accompany her during her visit to Behwalay in Nimba County. The field mission was part of the UNHCR Regional Director’s visit to Liberia where she held meetings with various line ministries.
Speaking to refugees in the two counties especially in Saclepea, Behwalay and Dubuzon in Nimba County, as well as B’hai border village in Grand Gedeh County, Executive Director Logan said the purpose of the UNHCR Regional Director’s visit is to assess the humanitarian situation of the Persons of Concern (POCs), listen to their stories which will form the basis of government and interagency interventions to be made in areas including protection, food, shelter, health, water, sanitation and hygiene.
He assured the new arrivals that the Government of Liberia will remain committed to international conventions and protocols (1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol, 1969 OAU Convention) and will provide international protection and work closely with UNHCR to find durable solution for their plight.
Expressing their concern, a cross section of the refugees attributed their coming to Liberia as the result of post-elections fear. The refugees appealed for assistance in areas including food, shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene, education and healthcare amongst others.
Responding, UNHCR’s Regional Bureau Director for West and Central Africa, Madam Millicent Mutuli said, with the opportunity to meet Ivorians seeking refuge in Liberia and having listened to their concerns, she would share the messages from Ivoirians in Liberia and the situation on the ground with authorities in Côte d’Ivoire and do her best to convey and find ways to facilitate pathways for eventual safe return.
As part of the UNHCR Regional Director’s tour to Nimba County, the delegation visited the 93 newly constructed durable shelters, built to support the integration of Ivorian refugees in Bahn city. It is expected that on Wednesday 30 December 2020, the Hon. Minister of Internal Affairs will lead a delegation to inspect and handover these houses to the community.
As at 21 December 2020, the LRRRC along with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency has recorded about 21,519 Ivorian new arrivals in Liberia specifically in Grand Gedeh, Maryland, Nimba and River Gee counties. This is in addition to 8,270 individuals belonging to the existing refugee caseload (including nationals from different countries) amounting to a total of 29,789 Ivorian refugee population in Liberia.
The LRRRC is appealing to Liberians, philanthropists and humanitarian organizations to join the Government to assist in meeting the needs of the most vulnerable including the elderly, pregnant women, and unaccompanied children.