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Thursday, February 9, 2023

Rejected Liberian Refugees Raise Concern

HomeAYV NewsRejected Liberian Refugees Raise Concern

Rejected Liberian Refugees Raise Concern

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They are a group of people who came to seek asylum in Sierra Leone between 1990 and 2002 during the war in their country. This group of people have raised concern over the way they are being treated in Sierra Leone and how their status have been seized by the National Refugee Authority in Sierra Leone without benefiting from any of the three durable solutions.

In the 2007 Sierra Leone refugee act, there is a provision for refugees to choose from one of the three durable solutions provided for them which are: to be resettled, repatriated or reintegrated by the United Nations High Commission for refugees (UNHCR). Some of the refugees that came to Sierra Leone after being given these three options chose reintegration; some went back to their country and some asked for resettlement.

However, the ones that asked for resettlement according to them were rejected by the National Commission for Social Action (NACSA) and were referred to as the undecided cases.

The Secretary General of the rejected refugees, Ahmed Donzo, said in June 2012 all refugees that never opted for durable solution of local integration and repatriation were asked to write letters to NACSA for them to explain what they really wanted. He said many of them including him wrote the letters but that they were told that their status has been seized, and referred to as undecided cases. He added that since they came to Sierra Leone, life has not been easy for them and that they have been finding it very difficult to survive.

 Esther Kamara, one of the refugees, she said that she came to Sierra Leone at the age of nine with her aunt during the war. She said since they came to Sierra Leone they have not received any assistance from UNHCR, and that at the age of eighteen years they separated her from her aunt saying that since she is eighteen she can take care of herself. “They let my aunt travel to the United States of America leaving me behind to suffer.” She also added that UNHCR only called them for resettlement interviews and after which they will only see other people that are not part of the program travelling.

Florence a blind refugee explained how she became blind in Kenema after she was treated by a Doctor in 2002 and the constraints she has been through since then. She explained that she was a business woman in Liberia having her own business place where she employed a lot of young people. She said UNHCR promised to resettle her husband and three children overseas, but according to her they never did that and that the frustration and disappointment led to the death of her husband. She added that as a blind woman, she can’t provide anything for herself and that she is calling on the Government and the international body to please look into her case.

Some of the other rejected refugees at Lagor and Waterloo camps expressed their dissatisfaction over the way they are been treated and the conditions in which they live in the country. They also said that they are pleading with the government of Sierra Leone and the international body to come to their aid as they are tired of living the life they are living now.

These refugees have been given a letter that states that they should regularize their stay with the immigration authorities in Sierra Leone I quote “that you regularize your stay with the immigration authorities in Sierra Leone immediately upon receipt of this decision until such a time that you may decide to leave Sierra Leone.” Should their case be looked upon immediately or not?

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