Operation: Opération: Liberia



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Key Figures

2018 year-end results
950 Ivorian refugees assisted to return to Côte d’Ivoire under voluntary return programme
850 students were enrolled in primary school and 430 in early child care and development
300 nationality certificates were provided to Sierra Leonean refugees
19 students (10 male and 9 female) were supported through DAFI programme
2019 planning figures
2,000 children  will be enrolled in primary education
2,000 shelter maintenance tool kits and materials will be distributed
2,000 people of concern will receive production kits or inputs for agriculture/livestock/fisheries activities
1,000 people of concern will receive cash or vouchers for business start up
500 students will be enrolled in lower secondary education

People of Concern Personnes relevant de la compétence du HCR

Decrease in
2018 9,160
2017 11,533
2016 20,486


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2018 {"categories":[2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019],"budget":[35.95709935,34.164707281,23.86090725,16.194818202,11.58006349,11.04161778],"expenditure":[18.86138998,15.36285384,13.64310588,9.81885467,7.19057607,null]} {"categories":[2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019],"p1":[35.95709935,34.164707281,23.86090725,16.194818202,11.58006349,11.04161778],"p2":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[null,null,null,null,null,null]} {"categories":[2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019],"p1":[18.86138998,15.36285384,13.64310588,9.81885467,7.19057607,null],"p2":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[null,null,null,null,null,null]}
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  • 2014
  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2018
  • 2019

Operational environment

The year 2018 was marked with the transition of the newly elected Government in Liberia. The new Government announced the Pro-Poor Agenda aiming at sustainable economic growth, addressing corruption and investing in infrastructure, among other issues.
Liberia achieved a major milestone in the consolidation of peace with the withdrawal of United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) in March 2018. The security situation in the country remained generally calm, however vulnerability of the country to potential outbreaks of conflict remains.
Following UNHCR’s agreement in 2017 to join other agencies in the One UN House in Monrovia, the Office completed its final move to the PAP building in Monrovia with all other UN agencies in Liberia.
The asylum space and protection environment remained conducive for people of concern to UNHCR. On solutions side, those who are not opting for  voluntary return have the option of  local integration in Liberia

Population trends

At the beginning of the year, the population of concern in Liberia stood at 11,160, of which 99% were from Côte d’Ivoire. 65% of the people of concern reside in Grand Gedeh county.  At the end of 2018, Liberia was hosting 9,160 people of concern. The overall population reduced by some 2,000 people, mainly due to the voluntary and spontaneous return of some 950 Ivorian refugees.

Key achievements

To improve the data available, in the first quarter of the year, UNHCR prioritised a verification and profiling exercise of refugees in camps. Continuous registration ensured the recording of 214 new births of which 90% were issued with birth certificates.

The local integration process was solidified with a local integration strategy developed jointly by the Government, UN Agencies and other stakeholders. The strategy was drafted to align with the Government policy on Pro-Poor Agenda and the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework. The vision of the local integration strategy estimated 45% (some 3,000 people) of Ivorian refugees could locally integrate by 2023.

In line with the mainstreaming of refugee services into the national framework and improving peaceful co-existence, UNHCR supported and financed the deployment of four social workers from the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection to three refugee camps. Main protection risks centred on lack of economic sustenance and SGBV issues. 82 SGBV cases were identified, reported and assisted across the three camps.

To address the needs of the Sierra Leonean caseload remaining in Liberia, a total of 300 naturalization certificates were issued, 80 families received cash grants, six work permits were issued, and five naturalization requests of refugees of mixed nationalities were processed. 

Sexual exploitation and abuse training and awareness-raising activities were conducted for all UNHCR staff members, including partner staff, in four locations: Grand Gedeh, Maryland, Monrovia and Nimba.

Using a community-based approach and refugee participation, support for people with specific needs (PSNs) continued throughout the year. Young refugee adults helped repair shelters for PSNs, while community workers monitored chronic patients and provided support for the elderly and people with disabilities. 

At the beginning of 2018, some 850 students were enrolled in primary schools and 430 in early childhood care and development. During the year, 19 students (10 male and nine female) were supported through the DAFI Programme for refugees’ access to higher education.

On policy and advocacy, the draft of the amended 1973 Aliens and Nationality law was adopted and shared with the Ministry of Justice for endorsement. This amendment would remove gender discriminatory provisions in the current law that could lead to statelessness. Similarly, substantive work was achieved on the domestication of the Kampala Convention to ensure protection and assistance of IDPs.

Unmet needs

The Liberia Repatriation and Resettlement Commission’s Asylum and Appeals Committees have no office nor office equipment. There are some 38 asylum cases (83%) still pending RSD. The eight cases completed in 2018 amount to some 17% of the total number of cases.
Throughout the year, UNHCR provided multi-purpose cash grants to 143 PSNs out of the estimated 500 PSNs in the three camps.
Refugees could not access convention travel documents (CTDs) because the CTD’s are not machine-readable. The Government has one machine to print national passports and requires a separate one for CTDs which the government does not have funds to procure. Therefore, the renewal of CTDs expired since 2016 could not be achieved. UNHCR has not had enough resources to support the government in this respect.
The closure of two UNHCR offices (Harper and Saclepea) because of lack of resources, and switching to remote management - while still having significant refugee caseload in these locations - compromised the timely access to refugees and quality of the response.

Working environment

The political and security situation in Liberia is stable and no major security incidents have been reported since the Government assumed security responsibilities from the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) in June 2016 (date of complete withdrawal of UNMIL is 30th March 2018 ). Current president’s second term comes to an end after the October 2017 general elections in which 22 candidates are vying for presidency. This will be the third consecutive peaceful election since the signing of the 2003 Comprehensive Peace Agreement. Liberia’s political environment does not pose any threat; however, the upcoming elections will take place during UNMIL reduced presence and following the transfer of security responsibility to the Government. 
The overall security situation along the borders remains calm, with no major imminent threats to overall security. Several cross-border initiatives are on-going, including the UN joint programme ‘Human security initiative in the most neglected communities with the integration of efforts by the UN Country Team in Liberia’; the UNDP enhanced border surveillance project; the UNDP post-Ebola surveillance and socio-economic recovery; and European Union-UNDP-ECOWAS small arms prevention project. The UN country teams in Côte d’Ivoire and Liberia have also developed a joint programme, ‘Cross-Border Cooperation between Côte d’Ivoire and Liberia for Sustainable Peace and Development’, which is under consideration by the Peacebuilding Fund and which is likely to be complemented by UNMIL assessed funding. The intention is to align the UNOCI and UNMIL assessed contributions’ cross-border projects with the joint programme, as experience in other settings demonstrates the importance of closely mirroring investments on both sides of the border. Strong ethnic linkages and familial bonds cut across all of Liberia’s borders.
In 2018, the operation will further strengthen its strategic partnerships with the Government of Liberia, humanitarian and development stakeholders and if necessary will sign memoranda of understanding with line ministries and other stakeholders for specific activities. UNHCR will integrate refugee programmes into local development strategies and ensure all activities are beneficial to both refugees and hosting communities.

Key priorities

In 2018 UNHCR will focus on:
  • Supporting the Liberian government to develop a legal framework and strategic policies that would be the foundations for the implementation of local integration of refugees in Liberia;
  • Handing the infrastructure in the camps over to the Government by transforming the refugee camps into settlement villages in the process of pursuing local integration;
  • Integrating service delivery for refugees into country systems and phased handover of  responsibility to the government;
  • Continuing support to the local infrastructure and capacity-building for smooth integration of services;
  • Supporting people with specific needs with livelihood-related interventions in order to reinforce their self-reliance while advocating for their absorption into the national programmes. UNHCR recognizes that socio-economic integration of refugees prepares the refugees more adequately for legal integration;
  • Supporting efforts to strengthen mechanisms to identify and assist people with specific needs.
Latest contributions
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  • 08-JUL-2019
    European Union
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  • 05-JUL-2019
  • 04-JUL-2019

    private donors

  • European Union
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  • 03-JUL-2019
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  • 30-JUN-2019

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