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Refugees Magazine Issue 106 (Focus : 1996 in review) - The way of life in Peacetown

Refugees Magazine, 1 December 1996

By Francis Kaptindé

The name of this village, nestled among palm groves, reflects its way of life: Peacetown. Located 400 kms west of Abidjan, the economic capital of Côte d'Ivoire, Peacetown is the antithesis of the murderous fighting that has been tearing Liberia apart for more than six years. Here, the houses are decked with flowers and large signs at the entrance of the village welcome visitors.

Peacetown was founded by the survivors of an attack on the village of Tai, 80 kms further south, carried out by the Liberian Peace Council in June 1995. The attack resulted in 32 dead and caused other refugees to flee. In their flight, the refugees halted in the region of Guiglo. Peacetown was born.

Here oil lamps are used for light. No one dies of hunger. There are no beggars. People farm and tend their little flocks. And,occasionally, they do business. The maquis, those cheap restaurants so famous in many West African countries, are numerous in Peacetown. So, one may taste "bicycle chicken" at the Silver and Gold Restaurant, rice with tomato and cassava sauce at the Kings and Queens or at the Potato Green Soup.

However, Peacetown is not free of problems. Medicines are in short supply or are sold at exorbitant prices. However, churches of the most varied denominations abound and are never empty on the Lord's day. God watches over Peacetown.

Source: Refugees Magazine Issue 106 (1996)

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UNHCR country pages

New flows of Ivorian refugees into Liberia

As of late March, more than 100,000 Ivorian refugees had crossed into eastern Liberia since lingering political tension from a disputed presidential election in neighbouring Côte d' Ivoire erupted into violence in February. Most have gone to Liberia's Nimba County, but in a sign that the fighting has shifted, some 6,000 Ivorians recently fled across the border into Liberia's Grand Gedeh County. Most of the new arrivals have settled in remote villages - some inaccessible by car. The UN refugee agency sent a mission to assess the needs of the refugees in the region.

Photographer Glenna Gordon photographed new arrivals near Zwedru in south-eastern Liberia.

New flows of Ivorian refugees into Liberia

Liberia: Return, Reintegration, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction

Colombia's armed conflict has forced millions of people to flee their homes, including hundreds of thousands who have sought refuge in other countries in the region.

Along the border with Colombia, Panama's Darien region is a thick and inhospitable jungle accessible only by boat. Yet many Colombians have taken refuge here after fleeing the irregular armed groups who control large parts of jungle territory on the other side of the border.

Many of the families sheltering in the Darien are from Colombia's ethnic minorities – indigenous or Afro-Colombians – who have been particularly badly hit by the conflict and forcibly displaced in large numbers. In recent years, there has also been an increase in the numbers of Colombians arriving in the capital, Panama City.

There are an estimated 12,500 Colombians of concern to UNHCR in Panama, but many prefer not to make themselves known to authorities and remain in hiding. This "hidden population" is one of the biggest challenges facing UNHCR not only in Panama but also in Ecuador and Venezuela.

Liberia: Return, Reintegration, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction

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Sierra Leone: Last Return Convoy from Liberia

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