A new committee, expected to work with asylum seekers, the government of Liberia through the Liberia Refugee Repatriation and Resettlement Commission (LRRRC), as well as the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and other local and international partners, has been certificated and inducted into office.
The committee comprises representatives from line ministries and agencies of government, including the Ministries of Internal Affairs (MIA), Finance and Development Planning (MFDP), and Foreign Affairs (MFA), Justice (MOJ) and and the Liberia Refugee Repatriation and Resettlement Commission (LRRRC).
In his remarks at the induction ceremony recently held at the headquarters of the LRRRC, Rev. Festus Logan, Executive Director of LRRRC, admonished his colleagues to make proper use of the technical skills acquired from the training they received.
LRRRC is the head of the Asylum Committee of Liberia (ACL) and, as such, its Executive Director, Logan, is the chairman of the Committee.
“Let me use this medium to admonish all newly inducted members of the ACL that the knowledge acquired should be used to adequately strengthen your ability in adjudicating asylum cases of all applicants in keeping with international best practices, conventions, protocols and resolutions Liberia is a signatory to,” Rev. Logan admonished.
Logan expressed his profound thanks and appreciation to the UNHCR for the continuous support extended the LRRRC, mainly in capacity building of the Asylum Committee members and the refugee regime.
“The Asylum and refugee regime of Liberia has been very stable over the years and, with the induction of new breed of members, I am of the conviction that this team will enhance its effectiveness and other regimes that may follow,” he said.
Logan added: “Let me also use this opportunity to recommit the Government of Liberia to upholding the principle of 1951 Convention relating to the status of refugees, the 1967 protocol on the state of refugees and the resolution 2198 (XXI), adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) in 2015.”
Madam Lisa Quarshie, Senior Officer at the UNHCR-Liberia office, said the protection of asylum seekers is critical for the survival of individuals or people fleeing conflicts and natural disasters. According to her, the Asylum Committee should take their work seriously to ensure that better treatment is provided asylum seekers while residing in the country.
She asserted that the work of the committee will determine whether an Appeal Committee (AC) will be set up to address issues related to asylum seekers’ cases in Liberia.
Madam Quarshie assured that the UNHCR will support the work of the Asylum Committee to ensure that problems confronting refugees and asylum seekers are addressed according to international protocols.
Losene Bility, Legal Consultant at the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) spoke on behalf of the line ministries and, in his remarks, called on his colleagues to be proactive in their individual and collective commitments to work for the committee.
Bility said even though Liberia has several national constraints, it is good that there be contingency plans for every stage of the committee’s operations.
The refugee act that created by the LRRRC in 1993 has in it that there should be an asylum committee to look after cases involving refugees and asylum seekers in Liberia.