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UNHCR earmarks Houphouët-Boigny award funds to educate 50 Liberian refugees

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UNHCR earmarks Houphouët-Boigny award funds to educate 50 Liberian refugees

29 November 1996

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Sadako Ogata announced on Friday that funds awarded to her and to UNHCR with the Houphouët-Boigny Peace Prize in June would be earmarked for the creation of UNHCR's Education Fund for African Refugees. This Fund will also channel other donations for the secondary and higher education of refugees.

The award amounts to 800,000 FF, or roughly US$155,000. The first beneficiaries of the Education Fund for African Refugees are 50 young Liberian refugees who arrived in Ghana in May 1996, after a traumatic trip on board a dilapidated vessel, the Bulk Challenge. Each scholarship will include secondary school tuition fees, boarding and living expenses for three years in Ghana.

"We are choosing to honour the thousands of adolescent refugees whose human rights are imperilled by war," Ogata declared. "It is tragic when children are forced to become refugees, and their needs must be the priority in our work. Educating these children is an important way to try to break the cycle of violence that has torn apart their societies. In fact, primary education is part of all UNHCR assistance programmes. This is why I have decided to use the award for the secondary education of these young people, who went through so much before they found refuge in Ghana."

The 1995 Houphouët-Boigny Peace Prize was jointly awarded to UNHCR and the High Commissioner on 5 June 1996, in Paris. The prize was established in 1989 by the UNESCO general conference in honour of the former President of Côte d'Ivoire, and is awarded annually to individuals, associations or institutions which have made significant contributions to promoting, seeking, safeguarding or maintaining peace in the world.