World Refugee Day Celebration in PTP Camp, Liberia
UNHCR, 30 Jun 2014
Liberia Celebrates World Refugee Day
PTP REFUGEE CAMP, Liberia, 20 June, 2014 (UNHCR): Celebrating with the advocacy message, “1 family torn apart by war is too many”, Liberia joined countries around the world to mark World Refugee Day on Friday, 20 June with Ivorian refugees assuring to answer the call of Côte d’Ivoire President Alassane Ouattara to return home.
“Today, we have answered our president’s call to return home,” said refugee chairman Guie Patrice Gnombie to loud cheers and applause as weeklong activities climaxed at Liberia’s largest PTP Refugee Camp, which hosts more than 15,000 Ivorian refugees.
The refugee chairman recalled that President Ouattara visited Liberia last year during which he appealed to his compatriots to return home and that their country needed them. “It is now time to return to Côte d’Ivoire,” reiterated Gnombie.
The Representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Khassim Diagne, informed refugees about reintegration activities in Côte d’Ivoire. “We will continue to work with the Governments of Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire to assist Ivorian refugees to return home and to ensure that returns are sustainable,” he said.
The keynote speaker, Chairman of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on refugee matters in Liberia, Hon. Alex C. Grant, said he was a refugee in Nigeria for
8 years before returning home. “I returned from Nigeria in 1998. I came back home to contribute to the development of my country. Take advantage of the voluntary repatriation programme and return home to improve your lives,” he urged.
Receiving a warm reception from his compatriots, Ivorian Ambassador, His Excellency Kapieletien Soro thanked the Government and people of Liberia for hosting Ivorian refugees, but stressed that peace and stability have been restored to Côte d’Ivoire and that it was now time they went back home. “There are more opportunities awaiting you and your children at home than in refugee camps,” he said. The Executive Director of the Liberia Refugee Repatriation and Resettlement Commission (LRRRC), Cllr. Abla G. Williams, and Lonestar MTN Communication Executive, Dr. Laurence Bropleh, also made remarks.
The UN Mission in Liberia, Lonestar MTN and Kenya Airways supported this year’s celebration. Donated items such as books, trophies and T-shirts were presented to refugees. UNHCR also donated a television set and its accessories to enable refugees watch the 2014 Football World Cup, via satellite, in which Côte d’Ivoire is competing.
World Refugee Day was also marked at Brewerville in Monrovia, Bahn Refugee Camp in Nimba and Little Wlebo Refugee Camp in Maryland County. Liberia currently hosts 44,172 refugees, asylum seekers and other persons of concern, including 41, 111 Ivorian refugees.
UNHCR annual report on the state of forced displacement states that forced displacement has exceeded 50 million people worldwide (51.2 million), for the first time since World War II.