-As Sierra Leonean Refugees Cross The Redline
The Liberia Refugee Repatriation and resettlement Commission (LRRRC) says it is taken aback by call made by some former Sierra Leonean refugees requesting the commission and the UNCHR to resettle them in a third country for asylum.
UNHCR is the United Nations High Commission on Refugee, an organ of the United Nations with oversight to supply and cater for the wellbeing of refugees across the world.
According to a release from the LRRRC, as of now there is no Sierra Leonean refugee within the borders of Liberia and therefore called on those calling for a resettlement in a third country for asylum to think twice, that’s according to a released issued in Monrovia from the LRRRC over the weekend.
“In 2008, the cessation clause for Liberians and Sierra Leoneans refugees the world over was invoked thereby ending the refugee status of Sierra Leonean residing in Liberia,” the release is quoted as saying.
The release also stated that in 2016 the UNHCR Geneva Office issued a circular in which it informed its offices across the world that all refugees in the sub-region from Liberia, Sierra Leon and Guinea will no longer receive international protection and assistance from the UNHCR given the prevailing improved political situation in said countries.
The commission also quoted the circular as informing its offices to begin working with the case load concern for possible local integration and voluntary repatriation.
“During the invocation of cessation clause of the Sierra Leonean Refugees in 2008, 375 of these case load was exempted cited various protection reasons and was accepted by the UNHCR.
The release and reminded Sierra Leonean refugees making such claim that “In 2016-2017 the UNHCR and the Government of Liberia Eligibility Committee comprising the Ministries of Justice, Internal Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Finance and Development Planning, LRRRC and the UNHCR resolved to review all claims made by Sierra Leonean refugees in 2008/2009 which allowed them to remain to be recognized as refugees in Liberia.
It is also reported that after the files and claims were reviewed by the Government of Liberia Eligibility/Asylum Committee, all claims were rejected and denied refugees status on grounds that the situation in Sierra Leone was stable and normal following two successive democratic elections.
“Of the 120 claims revisited, the committee found out that the fear expressed that led to the granting of refugees status to the Sierra Leonean no longer exist,” the release maintained.
The release maintained that LRRRC and its partner UNHCR on humanitarian grounds provided livelihood grants to those who submitted business plans as local integration option.
It also states that 85 family heads were given livelihood assistance from the UNHCR which constitutes 295 individuals and signed appropriate documentation separating them from UNHCR and LRRRC thereby ending their refugee’s claims.
In conclusion, the release pointed out that LRRRC as a government entity is wondering why the former Sierra Leonean refugees will choose to demonstrate when they no longer enjoy refugee status in Liberia.
The release comes in reaction to the recent peaceful protest staged by the former Sierra Leonean refugees seeking third country asylum from the government of Liberia and her concerned international partner, the UNHCR.
Last year, hundreds of former Sierra Leonean Refugees were certificated and given Liberian citizenship status by the LRRRC in collaboration with the international partners of the government of Liberia