The governments of the United States of America and Japan have contributed a total of US$ 2 5 million towards the Ivorian refugee programme amid the need for more funding as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) focuses on the voluntary repatriation of thousands of Ivorian refugees remaining in Liberia. 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 Liberia, while the Government of Japan donated US$ 66.8 million to UNHCR for humanitarian assistance in African countries, including US$15million for protection and assistance to Ivorian refugees in Liberia “UNHCR is very grateful to the governments of USA and Japan for this very timely assistance,” said Representative Khassim Diagne, expressing gratitude to all donors for supporting UNHCR’s humanitarian endeavours. The Representative, however, added that UNHCR Liberia overall budgetary requirements for 2014 are currently put at more than US$ 34 million. “We still appeal for more assistance from donors to cover the gap of unmet needs,” he said.
More than 46,000 Ivorian refugees remain in Liberia three years after postelection violence forced about 220,000 Ivorians to cross over to seek refuge in Liberia following a disputed presidential run-off election in late 2010.
In 2014, the UN agency encourages refugees to engage in livelihood activities that will make them more self-reliant while focusing on voluntary repatriation. So far this year, in collaboration with the Liberia Refugee Repatriation and Resettlement Commission (LRRRC) and other partners, some 6,000 Ivorian refugees have been assisted to return home mainly from camps and communities in Nimba and Grand Gedeh counties.
Meanwhile, Representative Diagne on 11 March briefed Minister of Foreign Affairs Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan on UNHCR’s activities, including the imminent closure of the Solo Refugee Camp in Grand Gedeh County. The Representative thanked the Government and people of Liberia for their continued hospitality to Ivorian refugees.