Liberia Refugee Repatriation and Resettlement Commission’s Rebuttal

The Liberia Refugee Repatriation and Resettlement Commission’s attention has been drawn to a story titled “Ebola Stalls Repatriation In Grand Gedeh” as a result of outbreak of Ebola in the country published in the May 5, 2014 Edition of the New Democrat Newspaper allegedly quoting the Commission’s Grand Gedeh County Coordinator, Mr. Joseph Cooper.

Mr. Cooper has meanwhile categorically denied ever granting interview to reporters about halting repatriation in Grand Gedeh County because of Ebola Virus and has described the New Democrat Newspaper story as baseless, unfounded and without any iota of truth; intended to create unnecessary fear amongst the citizenry and the Ivorian refugee population in Grand Gedeh.

In a clarification, Mr. Cooper said that the issue of repatriation came about during a briefing session with Information Minister Lewis Browne in the presence of Grand Gedeh County Superintendent, Mr. Peter L. Solo at which time he informed the Minister that repatriation is on hold in grand Gedeh due to a request from the Ivorian Government.

During the briefing session, a copy of the request from the Ivorian Government addressed to UNHCR Country Representative, Khassim Diagne was exhibited.

Grand Gedeh County Superintendent, Mr. Solo has meanwhile, reiterated the absence of the Ebola Virus in the county, quoting Liberia medical authorities. He further clarified that the issue relating to voluntary repatriation lies with UNHCR and a reciprocal measure due to the reported negative behavior of Ivorian security at the B’hai border on the Ivorian side which was reported by Liberian security agencies on three separate occasions.

Mr. Solo disclosed that communication on the issue has been forwarded to Liberia’s Minister of Internal Affairs for his intervention and advice.