16 May 2018

Liberian Refugees Languish in Guinea

Liberian Refugees in Kouankan and Laine in neighboring Guinea have reportedly been ill-treated by Guineans since the end of the civil war in Liberia.

It is alleged that the reported maltreatment came in the wake of the Liberian refugees' refusal to return home since war ended. The NewDawn's Bong County correspondent who visited Guinea over the weekend says the living condition of Liberian refugees in Guinea is very poor.

Over 3,000 Liberians are still in Guinea and wanting to return home, but they seem to be having difficulties due the lack of transportation.Our correspondent says Liberian refugees in Guinea are living by either begging or doing labor jobs for Guineans.

Sometimes it is even difficult to pay for what they work for, this paper has gathered. Since the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) left, their living conditions have become worse, evidenced by the structure of their homes and very discouraging health conditions.

Particularly in Laine, the tarpaulins for temporary living quarters, once provided possibly by UNHCR, are still there. Our correspondent observes that these tarpaulins are tearing and leaking, causing rain to get inside. Liberian refugees are now turning to attaching palm thatches over the torn - off tarpaulins to get shelter.

They complain that they feel totally abandoned and forgotten, saying they have no advocate and people from outside Guinea hardly visit the camps.Many claim that they have heard about the Liberian government but have seen no support to come. Some of those whom were able to speak to our correspondent say they really want to come back to Liberia but they do not have the means due to the increase in transportation and the lack of shelter.

They described the presence of our correspondent as the beginning of another hope because Liberians will be informed about what is happening to their brothers and sisters in Guinea.

They are appealing to the government of Liberia through the Liberia Refugees Repatriation and Resettlement Commission (LRRRC) to quickly see reason to help them to return to Liberia.

"It is really true that nowhere is better than home. We want to go back to Liberia but we do not have anything like money to do so," Korto Mulbah told our correspondent.

They allege that some of their girl children have been sexually abused by some Guineans, but they are yet to see justice.The refugees are concerned that the correct information about their true situation is not reaching the people of the world, expressing lack of trust in their local administration or what the local UN representatives are saying about them.

They lament that without further support, they lose control of their children who run wild on the streets without discipline while their young women carry on some desperate hustle to get money for their families.

--Edited By Winston W. Parley

Liberia

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