Pan Africanism : Repatriation

Discussion in 'Black History - Culture - Panafricanism' started by truetothecause, May 18, 2007.

  1. truetothecause

    truetothecause Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Refugees' Repatriation Ends June 30

    The Analyst (Monrovia)
    NEWS
    16 May 2007

    By Mike Butscher


    They fled to preserve their lives and by and large, living away from home brought relative relief, security, and opportunity for some.But UNHCR acting on an MOU between the governments of Ghana and Liberia is offering the last opportunity for Liberian refugees to come home and contribute to the reconstruction of their country.

    For many, that is indeed an opportunity; but for quite a few, that would have been an opportunity had refugees been given the option to settle in a third country or given resettlement packages to return home. The question being asked is, "To what are we returning?"

    The repatriation of Liberian refugees from Ghana by UNHCR come to an end on June 30 and large scale resettlement has ended.

    UNHCR public affairs office has disclosed that it has helped more than 90,000 refugees return home since October, 2004. Some 200,000 have returned on their own without assistance.

    The UN refugee agency says the United States has spent $30M on programs in Liberia helping returnees reintegrate into the society.

    Explaining the process, UNHCR said vulnerable women with babies, elderly, handicapped and some unaccompanied persons were flown to Liberia while the rest was sent by sea movements. Only 500 have so far registered since January 2007, the UN refugee agency said.

    The Buduburam camp is located in the central region and holds an estimated 40,000 Liberians clustered in a comparatively small space. The camp grew from an emergency relocation operation to a permanent home for one of the largest communities of Liberians outside the country.

    "We're not happy living here, but we do not have a choice. It is easy to say return home, but repatriation it is not that simple," says Tobrina Jackson who owns a shop in the main square of the Buduburam camp.

    "Some of us are waiting to be resettled in the USA, Canada, or Australia. Yes, the numbers have dropped but people are going abroad. We will wait for our turn and if it does not work out, we will return," said Titus Baysar, age 18 years.

    Although life has been challenging for Liberians in Ghana, some have made it and are already established in the Ghanaian society. Names like Van Vicker is a leading movie star and Emma Morrison is a television news anchor.

    Ghana Notebook-Buduburam refugee camp
    As UNHCR and the Ghanaian government announced the official end of the repatriation of Liberian refugees from Ghana by June 30, many are wondering what the future holds for them and their relations as they defied returning home empty.

    Mike Butscher visited the camp about 30 minutes from Accra and discovered that most Liberians are quite reluctant to return home. He sampled the views of few Liberians on repatriation. The first is a cleric and therefore a man of peace who Liberia needs now:

    "I.m Pastor Fayia Harris. I'm a Liberian refugee and live at Buduburam camp. I am the pastor of the Sanctuary of Grace Church, Buduburam camp. I have been here for 13 years now.

    Life is just up and down because for some of us who are refugees we cannot return home and some of us do not have relations in the United States to send support for us or file in for the family to be united with them.

    For most of us, our fate is in the hands of God and we trust him each day to see what he would do. "I do have a family; my wife and two children. I do pastoral work as a full time job.

    We know that peace is in Liberia but what are you going back to? How do you go back to Liberia? These are questions that are yet to be answered.. Until these questions can be answered as an individual, and then the things you suffered back home and then they tell you there is peace.

    "How do you go back to Liberia after your whole life has been devastated? There is nothing you have back home.

    People are traumatized. These are some of the hindrances and challenges and it is like we are just stuck in the middle."

    Butscher: "But some people have returned from this camp?"

    Harris: "Yes, people have returned, but we should understand that everyone living on this camp has something different individually. Each person you asked has their own story.

    So everything is based on how and why you came and then what brought you to this camp and then what you are going back to. Those who returned know what life is like back home and maybe they have a family to be united with."

    Butscher: "What is preventing you from going home? After all, home is home?"

    Harris: "True, home is home but if you were in a country where you watch your family members killed, raped and you were faced with death two, three, four times and all your properties destroyed, then I don't know what we are going back to.

    Butscher: "How do you restart your life?"

    Harris: "I personally believe that whilst I am in Ghana, at least I have acquired a Batchelor's degree in Theology and striving to do my Masters.

    I will continue to work hard and God will give me something so I can get back on my feet as a person before I try to make a decision, but not just jumping up and go home."

    Butscher: "Are you bitter in any way?"

    Harris: "I will not use the word bitter because it is a very strong word. I think I am traumatized in a lot of ways. I have been through a lot of problems, but bitterness is not the right word because I am a pastor and a Christian and I have learnt to forgive those who had done evil against me.

    However, those things still linger in my mind because forgiveness does not mean to forget. I still think about those atrocities sometimes and they become very real to me."

    Butscher: "What do you tell your children?"

    Harris: "Liberia is their country but for now my children going back depends on me. If I am not prepared to go back, then my children cannot. They are in school and I think Ghana offers a better opportunity for them in terms of education and security for now."

    Butscher: "What would you say to the Liberian government?"

    Harris: "I want to thank Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf because she is doing her best. I know there are lots of things to do in the country to make it secure and to also inspire confidence in refugees to return home and finding a place for them in society.

    I think if education and jobs are provided for the youths, then the country will go far. The youths of the country will develop if opportunities are provided them."

    Butscher also caught up with Titus Bowier:

    Bowier: "My name is Titus Bowier attending St. Mary's Catholic School. I sell during vacation time and return to school when it reopens.

    I am 18 years old. My mother is in Liberia and my father lives in Ghana. Life is not easy but it's stage by stage. I'd like to go to Liberia but only at the right time.

    "Life is not easy for the young people in exile. When we came here, rice was 2,000 cedis; now, it is very expensive at 200,000 cedis. I sell a local drink that is non-alcoholic two times a day. Sometimes I make between 80,000 - 100, 000 a day. That keeps me going.

    Butshcer: "There are too many idle young people here?"

    Bowier: "There are so many young people here living on their own without parents. Some have been engaged in stealing, armed robbery, etc. but many of us are trying hard to make our lives better.

    Young people here listen to Gospel music, Ghanaian music, and highlife. I want to send a message to tell my mother that I love her so much and will keep calling her."

    Christiana Nagbe: From old road, Monrovia. I am 24 years old. I've been here for 17 years. I have my hairdressing business that I do. Being here is only by God's grace because if you are living here and don't have anyone, you won't make it.

    "Now the people are telling us that we should go back. I thought we would stay a longer time here but the Ghana government cannot agree. We have no option but to go back home."

    Butscher: "Liberians have built houses; what is going to happen?"

    Nagbe: "Nothing."

    Butscher: "The country is not your country and the land was leased to you so when the term expires you have to go. UNHCR gives food and ration to registered refugees who plan to return."

    Nagbe: "Yes, I'll go back, but I'm praying if nothing works out for me, I'll go back because Liberia is my home and I cannot abandon my country. There is nowhere like home."


    Forward Ever (by any means necessary)!
    Karen C. Aboiralor
     
  2. abdurratln

    abdurratln Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Solve the Refugee Problem

    I beleive that a solution to the refugee problem goes hand-in-hand with the Unification of Africa. In fact, the refugees hold the kay to political power in the African union. We in the Diaspora need to come together to establish programs that deal with the refugee problem. We can no loger afford to set back and let the UN handel everything. Africans have everything we need to solve our problems. Let's do it.
     
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