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High Commissioner thanks communities and Government of Liberia for hosting refugees from Côte d'Ivoire as refugee status set to end in the region

Speeches and statements

High Commissioner thanks communities and Government of Liberia for hosting refugees from Côte d'Ivoire as refugee status set to end in the region

23 June 2022
UNHCR High Commissioner, Filippo Grandi, presents a gift to George Weah, President of Liberia at the Executive Mansion.

Monrovia – UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi visited Liberia to thank the communities and Government for hosting Ivorian refugees over the past two decades as the process to formally end their refugee status - the application of cessation clauses - comes into effect on 30 June.

“Liberia generously provided refuge and support to tens of thousands of Ivorian refugees who fled crises in their country over the past decades,” Grandi said. “Despite challenges in the country, Liberians welcomed the refugees. And now that peace has arrived in Côte D’Ivoire, Liberians share a sense of joy and hope with those refugees who are returning.”

The High Commissioner was honoured to have been received by the President of the Republic of Liberia, George Weah, as well as other ministers in the Liberian government. The High Commissioner thanked them for their decades of hospitality of Ivorian refugees.

On 18 June, Grandi travelled to Liberia to accompany Ivorian refugees on the last stage of their journey home as they took a river ferry across the border between the two countries.  At the crossing, Liberian authorities delivered birth certificates and school diplomas to their Ivorian counterparts to ensure returnees can enroll their children in schools, obtain national identity cards and register to vote.

Hundreds of thousands of Ivorians fled Côte D’Ivoire over the past decades, the vast majority to Liberia and other neighboring countries. More than 96 per cent of all those registered across West Africa, have now chosen to return home. Over 11,000 of the 14,000 people who have returned this year have arrived from Liberia, where UNHCR is organizing weekly transportation for Ivorians wishing to return.  The Government of Liberia has agreed to facilitate local integration, acquisition of permanent residency and naturalization to the small number of Ivorians who have chosen to stay due to strong community or family links.

UNHCR believes the solidarity and cohesive response among governments in West Africa in supporting Ivorian refugees and organizing their safe, coordinated return home is an example for the wider region and the rest of the world. It highlights how political will and cooperation can help protect people that are forced to flee during crisis, and that their safe repatriation is possible once peace and stability is returned in their country of origin.

Media contacts:

  • Liberia: Mbaiorem Djerassem, Head of Field Office Zwedru (Liberia) - [email protected]
  • Dakar: Alpha Seydi Ba, Senior Communication Officer – [email protected] (Mobile/WatsApp) +221 77 345 74 54