End of refugee status for Angolan and Liberian exiles this weekend

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A large number of Angolans fled to the DRC during the civil war

Thousands of people who fled civil wars in Angola and Liberia will lose their refugee status as of June 30 this year, according to the UN refugee agency UNHCR.

This means people who fled the two countries and remain abroad will no longer be regarded as refugees by UNHCR and host governments.

The Liberian civil war killed more than 250,000 people and displaced over 750,000 people inside the country and abroad, while over 100,000 Angolans were forced into exile during the country's war of independence between 1965 and 1975.

UNHCR says the cessation of refugee status follows the return of peace and stability in Liberia and Angola.

Adrian Edwards,  from UNHCR, says the agency is working with the authorities to find solutions for refugees who wish to either return home or to remain in their host country.

"Voluntary returns will continue to be assisted while possibilities for local integration or an alternative legal status are also being discussed. In Liberia, the ending of refugee status will apply to people who left the country during the two civil wars that tore apart the country between 1989 and 2003. In Angola, the ending of refugee status will apply to those who fled that country during the 1965-75 war of independence from Portugal and the subsequent civil war, which ended in 2002. Last year, UNHCR and the Government of Angola launched a new organized return programme for Angolan refugees in neighbouring countries. Nearly 23,000 Angolans have returned to their country."

Duration 45″

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