By Kruah Thompson (Intern)
The Government of Liberia through the Liberia Refugee Repatriation and Resettlement Commission or LRRRC in collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Liberia has completed the population verification of Persons of Concern (PoC) living in Liberia.
Speaking during the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT) regular Thursday briefing, 15 July 2021, LRRRC boss Festus Logan said the verification process started on 17 April 2021 and ended on 30 May 2021.
He explained that the main objective of the verification exercise was to verify refugees and asylum seekers living in Liberia, along with their enrollment and update of their bio-data in line with national and regional data set.
Mr. Logan said it was also meant to undertake continued registration which includes (new birth and death registration), carry out local integration and voluntary repatriation survey, as well as issuing proof of registration for all cases already verified and close all cases that cannot be traced in Liberia.
He further stated that before the Ivorian emergency, Liberia hosted 8,235 refugees and asylum seekers out of which 8,112 were Ivorian refugees.
Mr. Logan continued that with the Ivorian emergency, 30,230 Ivorians and some third country arrivals were registered, making a total of 38,465 refugees and asylum seekers registered within the Liberian territory, 99 percent of them Ivorians.
According to him, after the population verification, Liberia now records a population of 31,944 verified refugees and asylum seekers as of 30 June 2021, adding that this figure represents 83 percent of the total Persons of Concern living in Liberia, while 17percent were ‘no show.’
However, Mr. Logan disclosed that the LRRRC and UNHCR have given a period of three months, starting from 1 June 2021 up to 31 August 2021 to enable any individual that missed the verification for a legitimate reason to be verified.
He noted that of the total number of 31,944 refugees verified, Nimba County represents 56 percent; Grand Gedeh, 25 percent; Maryland, 11 percent; River Gee, 7 percent and Montserrado, 1 percent.
According to Mr. Logan, a durable solutions survey done during verification revealed that 57 percent of the population representing about 18,208 refugees opted to voluntarily return to Cote d’Ivoire, while four percent of them representing 1,278 individuals opted for integration in Liberia. He added that 12,458 of the population representing 39 percent are undecided on a preferred solution.
Logan continued that the mop-up exercise is ongoing for 6,521 individuals representing 17 percent of refugees who missed the verification, noting that LRRRC and UNHCR are liaising with the government of Cote d’Ivoire for possibilities that some PoCs may return home.
The Government of Liberia used the medium to thank the UNHCR for the support provided to complete this exercise.–Edited by Winston W. Parley