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UNHCR Global Appeal 1999 - Liberia


UNHCR Global Appeal 1999 - Liberia

1 December 1998

Basic Facts

What we do

Assist in the repatriation and reintegration of Liberian refugees; and provide protection and assistance to those refugees who do not wish to repatriate.

Who we help

Some 221,000 Liberian refugees: 85,000 in Côte d'Ivoire, 10,000 in Ghana, 115,000 in Guinea, 3,000 in Nigeria and 8,000 in Sierra Leone. Some 100,000 of these refugees are expected to repatriate with UNHCR's assistance; another 90,000 are expected to return home spontaneously. The remaining 31,000 will stay in the countries of asylum.

Our requirements

US$ 27,000,644

Our offices

Liberia: Monrovia, Gbarnga, Voinjama, Vahun, Kolahun, Zwedru, Harper.

Côte d'Ivoire: Abidjan, Danané, Tabou.

Guinea: Conakry, Guéckédou, Nzérékoré, Macenta, Forécariah.

Ghana: Accra.

Nigeria: Lagos.

Sierra Leone: Freetown.

Our partners

Liberia: Liberia Refugee Repatriation and Resettlement Commission (LRRRC), Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ), Action Contre la Faim (ACF), Initiative pour une Afrique Solidaire (IAS), Organisation for Children and Adolescent Mothers (OCAM), United Nations Volunteers (UNV), Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), American Refugee Committee (ARC), International Rescue Committee (IRC), Save the Children Fund / United Kingdom (SCF/UK), Medical Emergency and Relief Co-operative International (Merci), Sustainable Development Promoters (SDP), Children Aid Direct (CAD), Liberia Opportunities Industrialisation Centres (LOIC), Justice and Peace Commission (JPC), Catholic Relief Service (CRS), Liberia Women's Initiative (LWI), Common Grounds Productions/Talking Drum Studio (CGP/TDS), Association of Female Lawyers (AFELL), Environmental Foundation for Africa (EFA).

Côte d'Ivoire: Le Comité National de Coordination de l'Aide Aux Réfugiés Libériens (CNCARL), Croix Rouge de Côte d'Ivoire (CRCI), Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ), L'Agence de Développement et de Secours Adventiste (ADRA), Le Comité International de Secours (IRC), Caritas, United Nations Volunteers (UNV).

Guinea: Action Contre la Faim (ACF), CARE Canada, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ), Médecins Sans Frontières - Belgique (MSF/B), International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Ministère du Plan et de la Coopération Internationale (MPCI), Bureau Technique du Génie Rural-Guéckédou (BTGR/GU), Bureau Technique du Génie Rural-Nzjrjkorj (BTGR/NZ), Service Chrétien d'Animation pour le Développement des Oeuvres Sociales et de Secours (SECADOS), Direction Nationale des Forêts et de la Faune (DNFF), Centre Rural pour l'Éducation des Adultes (CREA), Direction Préfectorale de la Santé (DPS), Centre Canadien d'Études et de Coopération Internationale (CECI), Croix Rouge Guinéenne (CRG), American Refugee Committee (ARC), International Rescue Committee (IRC), Comité International de la Croix Rouge (CICR), Mission Catholique pour les Réfugiés (ADRIP), Agence Musulmane d'Afrique (AMA), Bureau de Coordination des Réfugiés (BCR).

Ghana: Christian Council of Ghana (CCG), Ghana Red Cross Society (GRCS), National Catholic Secretariat (NCS), Assemblies of God Development and Relief Services (AGDRS), National Mobilization Programme (NMP).

Nigeria: Nigerian Red Cross Society (NRCS), Catholic Justice Development Peace Commission (CJDPC), African Refugee Foundation (ARF), Ijebu North Local Government (INLG).

Sierra Leone: National Commission for Resettlement Rehabilitation and Reintegration (NCRRR), Concern World-wide, Kenema Diocese Development Office, Sierra Leone Red Cross Society, The Methodist Church of Sierra Leone.


At the height of the civil war that erupted in Liberia on 24 December 1989, some 700,000 people - out of a pre-war population of 2.4 million - sought refuge in neighbouring countries. The election of Charles Taylor as President in July 1997 marked the beginning of a new era of peace in the country. Since then, security conditions in the country have improved considerably, prompting increasing numbers of refugees to return home or express their desire to do so. As part of the national reconciliation process, UNHCR began a large-scale organized repatriation in late 1997. As of September 1998, more than 80,000 persons have repatriated with UNHCR's assistance; another 160,000 returned home spontaneously. Despite occasional incidents of violence, peace now seems to prevail in Liberia.

Current situation

Governments and local populations in the countries of asylum are generally hospitable to the Liberian refugees. Most of the refugees who fled to Côte d'Ivoire and Guinea, some 90 percent of the total number of Liberian refugees, have settled among the local populations. Most of the Liberian refugees in Ghana, Nigeria and Sierra Leone live in camps. The repatriation and reintegration of Liberians is conducted amid the difficult conditions of post-war Liberia. Despite significant improvements, the security situation is unsettled; and ethnic conflicts are still a cause of concern. Natural and human resources, and physical and social infrastructures have been devastated during seven years of war. Economic activities are extremely limited. Income-earning potential is low and investment is minimal. In addition, political differences and tensions in the region further complicate the operation. For example, large numbers of Sierra Leonean refugees flooded into Vahun, where Liberian refugees are returning, and into Guéckédou, Guinea, which already hosts large numbers of Liberian refugees. Weather also influences the repatriation effort. The heavy rains that fall between May and October render the unpaved roads muddy and practically impassable. The beginning of the rainy season also coincides with the end of school. Thus, transport becomes most difficult to organize just when demand for repatriation peaks.


While the repatriation and reintegration of Liberian refugees remains the primary objective for 1999, UNHCR will also plan the phase-out of its assistance programmes. The agency anticipates that registration for voluntary repatriation in the countries of asylum will end by March 1999; organized repatriations will end by December 1999; and reintegration activities in Liberia will end by June 2000. Those who do not wish to repatriate will continue to receive protection and assistance.

Protection and solutions

Most of the asylum countries to which Liberians fled are parties to the major conventions on refugees and human rights as well as to the Convention on the Rights of the Child. President Taylor signed a Declaration on the Rights and Security of Liberian Refugees in late October 1997. UNHCR is encouraging countries in this sub-region to adopt national refugee legislation. Côte d'Ivoire has already made significant progress in formulating such legislation. Where refugee legislation does exist, policy makers and those required to execute the law are often unfamiliar with it. UNHCR offers training programmes in refugee law for government and non-government officials. UNHCR also ensures that the refugees themselves are aware of their rights and of the various mechanisms that exist for protecting them.

Monitoring conditions in the areas of return remains a protection priority. Additional staff will be deployed to the main areas of return; and a joint returnee monitoring project will be launched with the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (JPC). As part of the joint project, government officials and NGO staff will be trained, more country monitors will be identified and trained, and legal assistance will be provided to returnees seeking to reclaim their property. Inter-agency cooperation will be sought to promote good governance, respect for human rights and the exercise of the rule of law. Capacity-building support to advocacy and civic groups will be reinforced.

Women and children

Some 80 per cent of the Liberian refugee population is composed of women and children. UNHCR, in collaboration with UNICEF and with generous contributions from the U.S. Government, launched the Liberian Children Initiative in August 1998. The on-going Initiative focuses on five areas: education, income-generation, tracing of families of unaccompanied children and family reunification, protection and promotion of child rights, and environmental education.

The economic empowerment of refugee women is key to their protection. In main countries of asylum, women have been encouraged to participate in vocational programmes and income-generating activities implemented by partners such as Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) and the International Rescue Committee. But because of financial constraints, plans for similar projects in returnee areas in 1998 had to be shelved. Funds will therefore be sought to launch income-generating activities and vocational training programmes in 1999 to benefit some 20,000 returnee women.


Host Governments, especially Côte d'Ivoire and Guinea, have reiterated the need to rehabilitate the environment damaged by the high density and long presence of refugee populations. The German Government is funding some environmental programmes in the two countries; but greater efforts are required.


In 1999, care and maintenance assistance programmes in the countries of asylum will be scaled-down as repatriation and reintegration activities are strengthened. Though UNHCR will continue to transport vulnerable refugees and those who have to travel long distances, refugees will be encouraged to return home without UNHCR's transport assistance. About 170 trucks are required for the repatriation/reintegration operation; UNHCR has access to about 120. At least 50 more trucks are required for 1999.

Returnees are given assistance packages containing food and household items. But given the condition of the areas to which they are returning, the returnees need much more than can be contained in any single assistance package. Roads, bridges, water and sanitation facilities must be rehabilitated; crop production must be started from scratch; health and education systems must be rebuilt. As long as educational facilities remain inadequate, refugee students will not be willing to repatriate, even though UNHCR is planning to scale down its education assistance programmes in the countries of asylum.

Reintegration projects

In 1999, Quick Impact Projects for reintegration will be diversified and expanded to include activities that promote the economic empowerment and self-sufficiency of households and individuals, such as vocational training, income- generation and micro-credit schemes. UNHCR's reintegration activities will be complemented by those organized by the Government of Liberia, other United Nations agencies and NGOs. This will ensure a smooth transition once UNHCR hands over its short-term reintegration activities to other organizations under a longer-term National Reconstruction Programme.


UNHCR's Operational Management Team in Abidjan coordinates the repatriation programme. UNHCR, the Liberia Refugee Repatriation and Repatriation Commission (LRRRC), GTZ, UNICEF and other implementing partners and specialized agencies share technical knowledge and expertise, particularly in the areas of health, education, water, sanitation and agriculture. The donor community in countries of asylum and origin is regularly updated on the progress of and constraints hampering the operation.


The unsettled security situation in Liberia and political tension in the sub-region could jeopardize the operation. UNHCR is particularly concerned about continuing tension among various ethnic groups and recurrent armed activities in the border areas. This instability may not only discourage refugees from returning but could also adversely affect the still-fragile peace consolidation process and eventually lead to another outflow of refugees.

The shortfalls in funding have hampered the planning and implementation of the repatriation operation. In late September 1998, UNHCR was compelled to extend the deadlines for repatriation and reintegration activities because of the uncertainty of funding.

Budget US$

The budget includes costs in Liberia, asylum countries and at Headquarters.

ActivitiesSpecial Programmes
Domestic Needs/Household Support1,074,259
Water Supply645,052
Shelter/Other Infrastructures623,519
Community Services495,521
Crop Production226,461
Livestock/Animal Husbandry40,000
Legal Assistance/Protection788,796
Agency Operational Support1,897,552
Programme Delivery Costs*7,783,775
Administrative Support Costs3,141,975

* Includes costs for protection, monitoring and coordination.