Last Updated: Monday, 15 September 2014, 14:12 GMT

Ivorian refugees return from Liberia in UN-supported voluntary repatriation

Publisher UN News Service
Publication Date 24 October 2011
Cite as UN News Service, Ivorian refugees return from Liberia in UN-supported voluntary repatriation, 24 October 2011, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4ea6a3572.html [accessed 16 September 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.
The United Nations refugee agency has facilitated the return of the first group of Ivorian refugees who have opted for voluntary repatriation from Liberia where they sought safety during the bloody unrest that rocked Côte d'Ivoire after presidential elections last November.

A convoy of 12 vehicles carrying 114 people left the Solo refugee camp in Liberia's Grand Gedeh county on Friday headed for Côte d'Ivoire in a voluntary repatriation effort jointly organized by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Liberian Refugee Repatriation and Resettlement Commission.

The refugees, who were transported across the border to Toulepleu, the nearest transit centre on the IvorSome of the refugees said they chose go back home because security had improved, while others said they were returning so that their children can go back to school.ian side of the frontier, were provided with rations of high-energy protein biscuits and water before leaving the camp, the UN peacekeeping mission in Liberia (UNMIL) said in a press release. The 105-kilometre journey from Solo camp to the transit centre lasted about four hours.

They will eventually return to their villages in Blolequine, Toulepleu, Doukoue and Guiglo in Côte d'Ivoire.

Some of the refugees said they chose go back home because security had improved, while others said they were returning so that their children can go back to school. Some cited employment reasons, with a number saying they wanted to participate in Côte d'Ivoire's parliamentary elections scheduled for December.

Liberia and Côte d'Ivoire and UNHCR signed a tripartite agreement on voluntary repatriation in August.

"UNHCR is not currently promoting returns but the tripartite agreement is now operational," said Robert Tibagwa, the UNHCR Deputy Representative in Liberia. "We will continue to work with our partners to assist refugees who would like to return."

There are an estimated 163,243 Ivorian refugees in Liberia, including 156,724 who arrived since November and 6,519 who have been living in that country since 2003.

Violence erupted in Côte d'Ivoire when former president Laurent Gbagbo refused to step down after he lost the UN-certified election to Alassane Ouattara, who was eventually sworn in after Mr. Gbagbo surrendered in April.

Search Refworld