Following the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, UNHCR has announced resumption of voluntary repatriation of Ivorian refugees thru a tripartite effort involving Liberian and Ivoirian authorities along with the UN refugee agency.
A press release issued in Monrovia says this week four convoys will depart from Liberia: two from PTP refugee camp in Grand Gedeh County, carrying 581 persons (331 already departed and on Friday 15 (250 registered); and two from Little Wlebo refugee camp in Maryland County, carrying 364 persons on Wednesday and Friday, respectively.
The following week, on 19 and 21 January 2016, Voluntary Repatriation will begin from Bahn refugee camp, in Nimba County, with the estimated return of 993 persons. The release says subsequently, and with the aim facilitating the repatriation of those who wish to do so, between two to four convoys will depart weekly from all three camp locations as feasible during the first half of the year.
“It is with great joy that 1,117 refugees in four convoys were able to return home before 2015 ended; this means that more than 1,000 persons celebrated the holiday season at home. These remarkable results were achieved thanks to the efforts made by all partners in only two weeks”, it added.
The resumption of voluntary repatriation was agreed upon during a Technical Tripartite Meeting held in Monrovia on 9 and 10 December, 2015. The process was halted due to the Ebola outbreak and the subsequent closure of the border. Despite the border between Cote d’Ivoire and Liberia remaining closed to date, voluntary repatriation is taking place through humanitarian corridors opened by the Ivorian Government so as to facilitate the safe return of its citizens, who found safe haven in the neighbouring country. -Press Release