Bordering the Atlantic Ocean, Liberia is a country located on the continent of Africa and has a population roughly of 4 million people. Liberia is home to thousands of refugees, many of whom originate from Cote d’Ivoire (also known as the Ivory Coast), a country just east of Liberia. Here are 10 facts about refugees in Liberia.
10 Facts About Refugees in Liberia
- There are currently over 40,000 persons of concern in Liberia. From this total, 38,000 refugees in Liberia originate from Cote d’Ivoire. This means that Ivorian refugees in Liberia make up 95 percent of the total refugee population.
- Ivorian refugees often flee to Liberia due to civil conflict in their country of origin. Populations in the Ivory Coast are constantly clashing with a rebellion which began shortly after the turn of the 21st century. Since then, there has been a great deal of unrest in the Ivory Coast, forcing many people out of the country. Liberia became a destination for many of the Ivorian asylum-seekers.
- A large majority of Ivorian refugees in Liberia live in refugee camps established by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
- With the sudden surge of persons of concern, Liberia has requested $34 million in foreign aid. Liberia has only been granted 28 percent of the requested funds.
- It is suspected that the reason Liberia is receiving less funding for its refugees is due to the Middle East’s own refugee crisis. Refugees from the Middle East are more likely to gain the attention of nonprofits and global organizations than the Ivorian refugees in Liberia.
- In 2016, an Ebola outbreak occurred in Liberia which resulted in thousands of deaths. According to the UNHCR, refugees in Liberia were impacted the most by the outbreak.
- Even though it has been over a decade since the war in Cote d’Ivoire, many of the refugees in Liberia feel they cannot return to their country of origin. Instead, many refugees choose to settle in refugee camps in Liberia.
- In 2016, Ivorian authorities, alongside the UNHCR, called for all Ivorian refugees to return home to Cote d’Ivoire. Mariatou Kone, the Ivorian Minister of Solidarity, Social Cohesion and Compensation, stated that Ivorians have conducted two elections without any problems since the election, pleading for the country’s citizens to return home.
- Refugee camps in Liberia were never intended or designed to be long-term settlements. As a result, food rations, educational opportunities and medical care are becoming difficult to obtain for refugees in Liberia.
- The majority of refugees in Liberia are women and children. As a result, UNICEF is working closely in order to ensure proper medical care and child protection for these refugees. For example, in 2012 UNICEF helped more than 20,200 Ivorian and Liberian children through child-friendly education and healthcare programs.
The refugee crisis is putting a lot of financial pressure on Liberia. It is absolutely crucial that conditions improve for refugees in Liberia in the near future.
– Morgan Leahy