UNHCR wraps up repatriation of thousands of Liberians

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Liberians cross the Cavaly River to their homeland from Côte d’Ivoire

More than 150 thousand Liberians who were forced into exile because of a 14- year civil war have returned home under a voluntary repatriation operation spearheaded by the UN refugee agency –UNHCR.

The war forced 750,000 civilians to become either internally displaced or refugees .

UNHCR Spokeswoman Melissa Fleming says the Liberians were returned home by road, on convoys and flights.

“ Our operation that has been going on since 2004, are returning people voluntarily who want to go back to Liberia. We have given them a small cash grant to help them restart their lives and they are getting a lot of encouragement from the Liberian government. There's a commission that has been set up to help returning refugees get jobs, scholarships for schools and plots of land. So, just to recall, Liberia's civil war, horrific -1989 to 2003. This war forced 750,000 people into exile, either internally displaced or as refugees. These days we don't have many stories of people being able to return peacefully home when you think of the Somalia situation – people in exile for over 20 years.”

A UNHCR spokesperson on the ground in Liberia describes the repatriation as "a remarkable achievement for the region" and for Liberia as it showcases that the country now has peace and is stable.

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration; 1’30″

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