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Côte d'Ivoire: emergency repatriation operation

Briefing notes

Côte d'Ivoire: emergency repatriation operation

7 February 2003

A decision by the UN in New York to tighten security rules for UN staff in Côte d'Ivoire because of the deteriorating security situation there has not directly affected UNHCR operations so far.

In Tabou, in the south-west of the country, the emergency repatriation of stranded and targeted Liberian refugees continues. To date over 1,780 refugees have returned to Liberia with the help of UNHCR. Some of about 1,000 frightened Liberians who sought refuge in our office compound in Tabou, have now been transferred to a newly rehabilitated transit centre near Tabou. At the UNHCR compound were also a number of Liberian nationals not registered as refugees who will be transferred in the coming days to a community shelter in town. We hope to transfer all people remaining in our compound by the end of the week. Our operations in Côte d'Ivoire will soon be reinforced by the arrival of an emergency coordinator who will oversee UNHCR's work in all Côte d'Ivoire.

Since the conflict erupted in Côte d'Ivoire last September, UNHCR has been forced to redirect its operations from routine assistance and local integration projects for 72,000 Liberian and Sierra Leonean refugees to crisis management and provision of emergency relief to refugees directly affected by the turmoil.