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2014 UNHCR country operations profile - Liberia

| Overview |

Working environment

  • Liberia is a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention, the 1967 Protocol, and the 1969 OAU Convention. Liberia is also a signatory to both Statelessness Conventions.

  • UNHCR operations in Liberia revolve around two main strategies: the continued provision, in collaboration with the Government and other partners of continued protection and assistance to refugees; and the pursuit of, and support for voluntary repatriation of Ivorian refugees. Despite occasional disturbances in the south-western border region of Côte d'Ivoire that have resulted in over 2,500 Ivorian refugee arrivals in 2013, the overall security situation in the country is foreseen to remain stable in 2014. The voluntary repatriation of Ivorians will therefore remain a priority for UNHCR in Liberia. Between 2012 and the end of 2013, the organization will have assisted some 30,000 Ivorian refugees to return. UNHCR plans to assist another 11,000 Ivorian refugees to return home in 2014.

  • The main challenges facing UNHCR in the voluntary repatriation process include the concerns expressed by some refugees about the slow pace of reconciliation in Côte d'Ivoire, the sporadic episodes of insecurity in some parts of western Côte d'Ivoire, very difficult road conditions in Liberia and western Côte d'Ivoire, the long rainy season and the poor state of the trucks used by UNHCR.

  • The Government of Liberia, through the Liberia Refugee Repatriation and Resettlement Commission (LRRRC), enables refugees to benefit from basic and essential social services, such as health care and basic education, as well as to pursue activities that strengthen livelihoods.

People of concern

The main groups of people of concern planned for in 2014 under the Liberia operation are: Ivorians who fled from Côte d'Ivoire as a result of the 2010 post-electoral crisis; and refugees and asylum-seekers from other countries, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea, Iraq, Sierra Leone, and Sudan.

Planning figures

UNHCR 2014 planning figures for Liberia
TYPE OF POPULATION ORIGIN Dec 2013 Dec 2014 Dec 2015
Total in country of whom assisted
Total in country of whom assisted
Total in country of whom assisted
Total 50,910 50,910 38,420 38,420 29,020 29,020
Refugees Côte d'Ivoire 49,560 49,560 37,710 37,710 28,730 28,730
Sierra Leone 260 260 250 250 240 240
Various 60 60 50 50 40 40
Asylum-seekers Nigeria 10 10 - - - -
Togo 10 10 - - - -
Various 10 10 10 10 10 10
Others of concern Sierra Leone 1,000 1,000 400 400 - -

| Response |

Needs and strategies

Strategic operational priorities for UNHCR in Liberia remain: durable solutions, access to basic needs and essential services, and self-reliance for people of concern.

In 2014, in terms of durable solutions, UNHCR will continue to pursue voluntary repatriation in particular, while resettlement will remain a strategic protection tool for vulnerable cases. For basic needs and essential services, the main anticipated requirements in the camps are in the areas of logistics, livelihoods, education, health, nutrition, as well as water, sanitation and hygiene. Interventions to reduce anaemia, micronutrient deficiencies, and chronic malnutrition will be among the top priorities.

UNHCR and its partners will build on existing capacity and strengthen emergency care and maintenance assistance while promoting self-reliance and skills training. Particular emphasis will be placed on mitigating emerging trends of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and criminal and antisocial activities among the adolescent population.

Wet-weather in Liberia often severely affects the roads, and hence mobility and access. Consequently, the logistics function will remain a key component of the operation, in order to enable the Office to deliver assistance to refugees and asylum-seekers in the country.

| Implementation |


In collaboration with the LRRRC, UNHCR will continue to provide leadership and direction on assuring international protection for people of concern. As part of the Office's operational strategy of consolidating activities, the Norwegian Refugee Council and the Danish Refugee Council will be the main partners for refugee camp management, Save the Children will be responsible for education and child protection and CARE International will work primarily in water, sanitation and hygiene activities.

UNHCR will engage in building the capacity of national NGOs to increase opportunities for sustainability and national ownership of the humanitarian assistance programme.

2014 UNHCR partners in Liberia
Implementing partners
Government agencies: Liberia Refugee Repatriation and Resettlement Commission
NGOs: Africa Humanitarian Action, Care International, Caritas, Danish Refugee Council, International Rescue Committee, Logistics and Services - Liberia, Medical Emergency and Relief Cooperative International, Norwegian Refugee Council, Save the Children - US, Special Emergency Activity to Restore Children's Hope
Operational partners
Government agencies: Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization, Liberia National Police, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Public Works

| Financial information |

Following the Ivorian refugee influx in 2010, the financial requirements for UNHCR's operation in Liberia increased significantly in 2011. Since then, with the return of Ivorians to Côte d'Ivoire, there has been a steady decline in the budget for the operation, from USD 90.2 million in 2011 to a revised 2013 budget of USD 42.5 million. In 2014, the financial requirements in Liberia amount to USD 35.3 million in order to enable the Office to address needs mainly related to health, nutrition, water and sanitation, SGBV, education, livelihoods and durable solutions.

Source: UNHCR Global Appeal 2014-2105

UNHCR contact information

The UNHCR Representation in Liberia
Style of Address The UNHCR Representative in Liberia
Street Address Haider Building, Mamba Point, Monrovia, Liberia
Mailing Address P.O. Box 9077, Monrovia, Liberia
Telephone 41 22 739 7286
Facsimile 41 22 739 7287
Time Zone GMT + 0
Working Hours
Monday:08:00 - 17:00
Tuesday:08:00 - 17:00
Wednesday:08:00 - 17:00
Thursday:08:00 - 17:00
Public Holidays 01 January 2014, New Year's Day
12 March 2014, Decoration Day
18 April 2014, Good Friday
14 May 2014, Unification Day
28 July 2014, Independence Day
29 July 2014, Eid-Al-Fitr
25 August 2014, National Flag Day
06 October 2014, Eid-Al-Adha
06 November 2014, Thanksgiving
25 December 2014, Christmas Day



UNHCR contact information

Statistical Snapshot*
* As at January 2014
  1. Country or territory of asylum or residence. In the absence of Government estimates, UNHCR has estimated the refugee population in most industrialized countries based on 10 years of asylum-seekers recognition.
  2. Persons recognized as refugees under the 1951 UN Convention/1967 Protocol, the 1969 OAU Convention, in accordance with the UNHCR Statute, persons granted a complementary form of protection and those granted temporary protection. It also includes persons in a refugee-like situation whose status has not yet been verified.
  3. Persons whose application for asylum or refugee status is pending at any stage in the procedure.
  4. Refugees who have returned to their place of origin during the first six months of 2013. Source: Country of origin and asylum.
  5. Persons who are displaced within their country and to whom UNHCR extends protection and/or assistance. It also includes persons who are in an IDP-like situation.
  6. IDPs protected/assisted by UNHCR who have returned to their place of origin during the first six months of 2013.
  7. Refers to persons under UNHCR's statelessness mandate.
  8. Persons of concern to UNHCR not included in the previous columns but to whom UNHCR extends protection and/or assistance.
  9. The category of people in a refugee-like situation is descriptive in nature and includes groups of people who are outside their country of origin and who face protection risks similar to those of refugees, but for whom refugee status has, for practical or other reasons, not been ascertained.
The data are generally provided by Governments, based on their own definitions and methods of data collection.
A dash (-) indicates that the value is zero, not available or not applicable.

Source: UNHCR/Governments.
Compiled by: UNHCR, FICSS.
Residing in Liberia [1]
Refugees [2] 53,253
Asylum Seekers [3] 54
Returned Refugees [4] 84
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPS) [5] 0
Returned IDPs [6] 0
Stateless Persons [7] 1
Various [8] 1,540
Total Population of Concern 54,932
Originating from Liberia [1]
Refugees [2] 17,576
Asylum Seekers [3] 1,991
Returned Refugees [4] 84
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPS) [5] 0
Returned IDPs [6] 0
Various [8] 213
Total Population of Concern 19,864

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Liberia: Return, Reintegration, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction

Colombia's armed conflict has forced millions of people to flee their homes, including hundreds of thousands who have sought refuge in other countries in the region.

Along the border with Colombia, Panama's Darien region is a thick and inhospitable jungle accessible only by boat. Yet many Colombians have taken refuge here after fleeing the irregular armed groups who control large parts of jungle territory on the other side of the border.

Many of the families sheltering in the Darien are from Colombia's ethnic minorities – indigenous or Afro-Colombians – who have been particularly badly hit by the conflict and forcibly displaced in large numbers. In recent years, there has also been an increase in the numbers of Colombians arriving in the capital, Panama City.

There are an estimated 12,500 Colombians of concern to UNHCR in Panama, but many prefer not to make themselves known to authorities and remain in hiding. This "hidden population" is one of the biggest challenges facing UNHCR not only in Panama but also in Ecuador and Venezuela.

Liberia: Return, Reintegration, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction

Sierra Leone: Last Return Convoy from Liberia

On July 21, 2004, the final UNHCR convoy from Liberia crossed over the Mano River bridge into Sierra Leone with 286 returnees. This convoy included the last of some 280,000 refugees returning home after Sierra Leone's brutal 10-year civil war which ended in 2000. Overall, since repatriation began in 2001, UNHCR has helped some 178,000 refugees return home, with a further 92,000 returning spontaneously, without transport assistance from UNHCR.

UNHCR provided returnees with food rations and various non-food items, including jerry cans, blankets, sleeping mats, soap and agricultural tools in order to help them establish their new lives in communities of origin. To promote integration of newly arrived returnees, UNHCR has implemented some 1,000 community empowerment projects nationwide. Programmes include the building and rehabilitation of schools, clinics, water and sanitation facilities, as well as micro-credit schemes and skills training.

UNHCR and its partners, alongside the UN country team and the government, will continue to assist the reintegration of returnees through the end of 2005.

Sierra Leone: Last Return Convoy from Liberia

Refugees move to new camp in Liberia

UNHCR has begun transferring refugees from Côte d'Ivoire to a new refugee camp in the north-eastern Liberian town of Bahn. Over the coming weeks UNHCR hopes to move up to 15,000 refugees into the facility, which has been carved out of the jungle. They are among almost 40,000 civilians from Côte d'Ivoire who have fled to escape mounting political tension in their country since the presidential election in late November.

The final number of people to move to Bahn will depend on how many wish to be relocated.from villages near the Liberia-Côte d'Ivoire border. Initially most of the refugees were taken in by host communities, living side-by-side with locals. Poor road conditions made it difficult for humanitarian agencies to deliver assistance. Supplies of food, medicine and water have been running low, making conditions difficult for both locals and refugees.

At the camp in Bahn, refugees will have easy access to basic services such as health care, clean water and primary school education.

Refugees move to new camp in Liberia

New flows of Ivorian refugees into Liberia

As of late March, more than 100,000 Ivorian refugees had crossed into eastern Liberia since lingering political tension from a disputed presidential election in neighbouring Côte d' Ivoire erupted into violence in February. Most have gone to Liberia's Nimba County, but in a sign that the fighting has shifted, some 6,000 Ivorians recently fled across the border into Liberia's Grand Gedeh County. Most of the new arrivals have settled in remote villages - some inaccessible by car. The UN refugee agency sent a mission to assess the needs of the refugees in the region.

Photographer Glenna Gordon photographed new arrivals near Zwedru in south-eastern Liberia.

New flows of Ivorian refugees into Liberia

Photo Gallery: The Challenge of Forced Displacement in Africa

Africa is the continent most affected by the tragedy of forced displacement. While millions of refugees were able to return to Angola, Burundi, Liberia, Rwanda and South Sudan over the last 15 years, the numbers of internally displaced people continued to grow. At the beginning of 2009, in addition to some 2.3 million refugees, an estimated 11.6 million people were internally displaced by conflict in Africa.

To address forced displacement on the continent, the African Union is organizing a special summit on refugees, returnees and internally displaced people from October 19-23 in the Ugandan capital, Kampala. Heads of state and government will look at the challenges and at ways to find solutions to forced displacement. They are also expected to adopt a Convention for the protection and assistance of internally displaced people (IDP) in Africa, which would be the first legally binding instrument on internal displacement with a continental scope. This photo gallery looks at some of the forcibly displaced around Africa, many of whom are helped by UNHCR.

Photo Gallery: The Challenge of Forced Displacement in Africa

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Liberia: Hurried FlightPlay video

Liberia: Hurried Flight

Tens of thousands of Ivorians have fled their villages and sought shelter in Liberia. Francis says he ran for his life and now he wants safety and food.
Liberia: Settling InPlay video

Liberia: Settling In

A dozen new shelters are built every day in Liberia's Bahn refugee camp. Eventually there will be 3,000 shelters for some of the many civilians who have fled from neighbouring Côte d'Ivoire.
Liberia: Arrival at Bahn CampPlay video

Liberia: Arrival at Bahn Camp

UNHCR has opened a new camp for up to 15,000 Ivorian refugees at Bahn in eastern Liberia. Follow the arrival of the first group.
Liberia: Ivorians on the RunPlay video

Liberia: Ivorians on the Run

More than 25,000 civilians from Côte d'Ivoire have fled to the safety of Liberia. UNHCR is helping local communities cope.
Liberia: Providing RefugePlay video

Liberia: Providing Refuge

UNHCR is building a camp in north-eastern Liberia to shelter thousands of refugees from Côte d'Ivoire. The local community is giving a helping hand.