Over 11,778 stranded Liberian migrants are said to be living in sub-regional countries including Ghana, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Algeria and Libya.
Liberia Refugee Repatriation Resettlement Commission (LRRRC) Executive Director Rev. Fetus Logan told a press conference at the Ministry of Information Thursday, 19 April that over the years, government has assisted the return of more than 2,282 stranded Liberian migrants from the sub-region.
He names Ghana, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Guinea as countries the stranded migrants were returned from. He notes that the LRRRC has started working with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Liberia Immigration Service (LIS) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) to firstly set up a technical working group that will establish contact with their embassies in the region.
However, Rev. Logan says there are also 11,261 documented refugees living in Liberia. According to him, 10, 791 Ivorian Refugees are in Montserrado, River Gee, Nimba, Grand Gedeh, and Maryland Counties. He says there are 63 refugees of various nationality, 33 asylum seekers and 374 Sierra Leoneans here.
“In keeping with our mandate, the LRRRC in close partnership with the UNHCR and other humanitarian partners from 2010 to 2018, we have repatriated 221,000 out of 244,000 Ivorian refugees; we also assisted the return of 16,000 of the 36,000 of Ivorian refugees,” he notes.
He says currently the government of Liberia and the UNHCR are in a process of providing local integration for 10,791 Ivorian refugees who are living in the various counties here.
Meanwhile, he said that the American President Donald Trump and the government have reached the decision to end the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program that has allowed about 3,600 Liberians to stay in the U.S for two decades, giving them one year from now to leave the country or face deportation.
He concludes that the LRRRC and LIS have set up a technical working group that is developing a comprehensive master plan to address the Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) program.
By Ethel A. Tweh–Edited by Winston W. Parley