Liberia: Ebola border closures halt refugee repatriation

| April 12, 2015

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Post-election violence prompted the exodus of an estimated 220,000 Ivorian refugees in 2010 and 2011. By March 2014, all but 46,000 who fled to Liberia had returned home. Then, officials closed the borders to stop the spread of Ebola.

Robert Bah Diézon is an Ivorian who fled to Liberia in 2012. He says: “We were so close to returning … and then we were informed that the convoy was suspended because of the Ebola outbreak. I thought that my world would fall apart.”

But things may be about to change. Kassim Diagne is a representative of the United Nations Refugee Agency in Liberia. He says: “There has never been a single case of Ebola among the refugees in the camps and [Liberia] is on track to defeat the epidemic. We believe that conditions are conducive to the resumption of voluntary repatriation.”

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Photo credit: UNHCR Liberia