The governments of the United States of America and Japan have donated a total of US$2.5 million towards the Ivorian refugee program in Liberia.
According to the United Nations High Commission for Refugee (UNHCR), there is a need for more funding as they are currently focusing on the voluntary repatriation of thousands of Ivorian refugees remaining in Liberia.
As part of its program, the US government donated more than US$342 million to various UNHCR operations around the world, including US$1 million to the Ivorian refugee operation in the country.
The government of Japan also donated US$66.8 million to the UNHCR for humanitarian assistance to African countries, including US$1.5 million for protection and assistance to the Ivorian refugees in Liberia.
“UNHCR is very grateful to the governments of the United States of America and Japan for their timely assistance to ensuring that the UNHCR is supported in doing justice by the people.”
The country’s representative of UNHCR Khassim Diagne has expressed gratitude to all donors for supporting UNHCR’s humanitarian endeavor in achieving some of their goals as an organization.
He added that UNHCR/Liberia’s overall budgetary requirements for 2014 are currently put at more than US$ 34 million. “We are still appeal for more assistance from donors to fill the gap of unmet needs, he lamented.”
They disclosed that there are 46,000 Ivorian refugees remaining in Liberia, three years after post-election violence forced about 220,000 Ivorian to cross over to seek refuge in Liberia. That development followed a disputed presidential run- off election in late 2010.
The UN agency is encouraging refugees to engage in livelihood activities that will make them more self-reliant while focusing on the voluntary repatriation.
Early this year, in collaboration with Liberia Refugee Repatriation and Resettlement Commission (LRRRC) and other partners, some 6,000 Ivorian refugees have been assisted in returning home, mainly from camps and communities in Nimba and Grand Gedeh Counties.
Meanwhile, on the 11th of March, Representative Diagne briefed the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan, on UNHCR’s activities. Those activities include the imminent closure of the Solo Refugee Camp in Grand Gedeh County.
Country representative, Khassim Diagne, thanked the government and people of Liberia for their continued hospitality to the Ivorian refugees over the years.