Shout-Africa.com reporter, Buduburam – With recent frequent issues with authority at the Liberian Refugee settlement, many have refugees wonders whether the ‘Durable Solution’ promised by refugee agency and stakeholders will be implemented .One will asked what is the ‘Durable Solution’ how will it help Liberian Refugees in Ghana after 20 years of stay in Ghana .
Shout-Africa.com sought for the views of some refugees and key advocate groups and one had this to say, The Joint Liberian Refugee Committees in Ghana ‘JOLRECG’ is calling for the immediate implementation of the ‘duration solutions’ promised Liberian Refugees in Ghana for the past years staying in the country. JOLREG has been leading series of demonstration allegedly, demanding for changes in refugee welfare and packages promised, but many stakeholders are saying their actions are unlawful and a threat to the peace of the Settlement.
According to some refugees interviewed by Shout-Africa.com, reporter the group has allegedly for the past months undertaken series of demonstrations with the aim of advocating and presenting issues of concern refugees from Liberia.
Shout-africa.com, investigation at the refugee camp has revealed that the group has spearheaded demonstrations to remove Varney V. Sambolah, Chairman of the Liberian Refugees Welfare Council appointed to head the Camp for the past years.
Voluntary repatriation operation was scheduled to end in June 2007according to the UNHCR. The launch of a UNHCR voluntary repatriation programme in October 2004 – was aimed at furthering the new Liberian government’s commitment to bringing back the tens of thousands of refugees who fled to other countries to escape civil war in Liberia during the 1990s. There are an estimated 38,000 Liberian refugees in the sprawling Buduburam settlement near Accra and the Krisan settlement in south-west Ghana. Some 3,500 Liberian refugees have returned home from Ghana since October 2004.
In an exclusive interview with Shout-Africa, at the group office in the Gomoa District, town of Budumburam, in the Central Region of Ghana, the Chairman Mawolo Jallah ,said things have not have been well for the refugees ,looking at the state life on the settlement for the past 20yrs . The main concerns of the refugees, some of whom have not been home in 16 years, included shelter and employment opportunities initially but now the durable solution and fear that the ‘cessation clause’ according to the Geneva convention will come into force.
Mr. Mawolo, explain their actions are in the right direction and they will continue to advocate for the rights of the Liberian Refugees, citing irregularities that the various bodies managing the settlement are subjecting the refugees to . He made reference to issues of the Geneva Convention and the delay in implementing the durable solution, as there is a possibility that refugees denied privilege if the ‘sensation clause’.
Many Human Rights advocates have expressed concern about issue of Liberian refugee as emerging emergency the world and stakeholders should hold hands to find solution to the over 16,000 remaining at the now turned Liberian Refugee Camp to Settlement . History has it that On February 19, 2008, in light of the perceived lack of options to progress from their protracted refugee situations, a group of several hundred Liberians women began a peaceful protest to call for additional assistance from the UNHCR on the Buduburam Refugee Camp in Ghana.
The UNHCR, the Government of Ghana, and the protesting refugees were unable to reach a compromise and on March 17, 2008, before dawn, the Ghanaian authorities arrived en masse to arrest over six hundred of these women and some children. They remained in detention for two weeks without being brought to court.
JOLRECG, latest action revealed by the Chairman, it calling for election of new leader for the Liberian Refugee Welfare Council, as stipulated by the Constitutions of the council. The letter addressed to the interim chairlady has it that, elections should be called with 96 hours of the receipt of the letter.
Founded in 2008, the group has according to the Chairman lead many advocacy actions to present Liberian refugee issues to stakeholders .After some period of dormancy, it resurfacing is in the same direction.
In a recent related development the resident manager Gavivina Tamakloe, was slapped from an angry refugee mob during a tour of the refugee settlement, with some foreign visitors ,eyewitness give account of the situation has ,alleged that Resident Manager refuse the some refugee talking to the foreign visitors during their tour of the Settlement. Due to recent issues between him and some section of the refugee community.