Refugees & Society: Return Of Stranded Liberian Migrants

By Kalinda Besha Kibungu

Fifty nine Liberian migrants in provenance from Niger and Algeria returned to their original country on Monday, August 31, 2020, after unsuccessful attempts to reach the four western seasons, journey.

They returned through the help of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Liberia Government through the Liberia Refugee Repatriation and Resettlement Commission (LRRRC) and the Liberia Immigration Service.

“Ye yeh, yeh, welcome back to our own country, I will eat all the bag of rice, I want eat cassava leaves, I want eat potato green, I want tobogi soup,(original Liberia soup)every day, we were eating meat, we are tired to  see women tail her face all day, I want speak kolokwa,’’This was saying upon getting a warm atmosphere that whispered about the fifty-nine young Liberians  ,majority men, elderly between 22 and 40 years faced the tarmac of Robert International Airport. They were welcomed by the authorities and different members of LRRRC, IOM members and the Liberia Immigration Service (LIS).

According to them, the young migrants in quest of a better live, they left Liberia for American and Europe by taking African nations cars. After, a long waiting ,more months , multiple violence and hunger in the desert, throughout their adventure  for Europe they were constrained to join the refugee camp in Niger and Algeria, who in collaboration with the International Organization for Migration   worked to help them to come back safely to  Liberia and reach their family home.

“If you see us here, back in Liberia, alive is God’sgrace, we were truly suffering the place we came from,’’said one of the migrants.

Following the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, the Executive Director of the LRRRC,Mr. Festus Logan said the migrants went to through COVID-19 screening process by the sending mission in Algeria and Niger, where they got health certificates of each returnee who arrived in the flight and they were screened for symptom. That means,the returning program is there by required to observe and practice the following health protocols as prescribed by the Health Ministry of the Republic of Liberia.

Meanwhile, the International Organization for Migration and Liberia government through the LRRRC in collaboration with international partners are determined with the issue about the voluntary return of migrants to their home country. This is one of the optimal solutions to the migrants’ crises.

Rev. Logan pointed out that, since 2017,the government  and the International Organization for Migrationthrough the LRRRC  are currently operating a series of repatriation  of migrants resumption. So, over seventeen thousand Liberians stranded migrants African countries, Libya, Mali, Morocco and different countries, are in the Liberia returning program, resumption of repatriation. The over total amount of three thousand and fifty seven migrants are back on the soil of Liberia. One thousands stranded migrants of countries who don’t have passport and have changed their nationalities, their returning back process is very difficult.

In this, Mr. Mohamed CherifDiallo, Country Coordinator of International Organization for Migration in Liberia explained that the problem of this process is that most of Liberian migrants left with different passports, not even it Liberia passport and or if you have Liberia passport, you can start the process. But they are working on it, with reintegration package and they can help them to come back. This is one of the problems that slow down the process of repatriation and the resettlement of migrants. “That process of  identification is not simple, and requires a lot of financial  resources and a lot of energy ,especially as these Liberians have traveled without passport and acquired other nationalities,’’ said Mr. Diallo.

Like this, repatriation, the one of durable solution for the migrants, the government of Liberia with partners’ internationals is working about national reintegration program for the returnees, a new reintegration Centre in Johnsonville, Monrovia.

Therefore, Mr. Ismael G. Kpeah, Director of Liberia immigration service discouraged anyone who wants to go back by the miss of irregularity travelling, because it’s bring a very bad feed back to the society, to the country and to the security., and they are seriously involve with the issue of traffic human, who complex violation of human right, extortions, ,sexual abuse.

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