UNHCR Boss Fears Renewed Violence in sub-Region
Posted May 6, 2004
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Rudd Lubbers says there
is still the risk of renewed violence around the corner in the MRU basin and
the sub-region at large; Patrick K. Wrokpoh & I. Solo Kelgbeh report.
He said peace has not been totally achieved yet in the sub-region, as such
there is a need to change what he called “the mind set” by mobilizing
people as well as empowering them so that they can change from the path of
violence to peace.
Mr. Lubbers made these assertion Tuesday evening when the NTGL Chairman Charles
Gyude Bryant held a cocktail reception for him and members of his delegation
at the Executive Mansion in Monrovia.
The UNHCR boss who also once served as Prime Minister of the Netherlands,
urged Liberians to organize peace in what he termed as “sustainable
way”, emphasizing that the opportunity afforded the country now by the
international community is the last chance.
Mr. Lubbers said the job of achieving total peace in the sub-region is not
yet done in full, stressing that there is a need to uphold what he described
as the “MRU Concept”. He said Liberia is the example of the sub-region.
and it is indeed possible to change the mind set and mobilize people and empowering
all of them something which he expressed confident can be achieved for them
to forget about war.
For his part, NTGL Chairman Bryant commended the UNHCR for the tremendous
assistance it has rendered and continues to render to Liberians affected by
He said the government is pleased that Mr. Lubbers is in the country to assess
the situation for himself.
He frowned on the past government of exiled former president Charles Taylor
for the low courtesy shown towards Mr. Lubbers during his first visit to Liberia.
Chairman Bryant said such an attitude would have adversely affected the country’s
international image, adding that Liberia is a country of good people and they
regret that these good characteristics were not shown to Mr. Lubbers when
he visited Liberia the first time.
Chairman Bryant appealed to Mr. Lubbers for the UNHCR to increase its assistance
to Liberian refugees and assist with their repatriation back home.
Meanwhile, the UNHCR boss has reiterated his agency’s uncompromising
stance to repatriate Liberian refugees from neighboring countries beginning
October 1, 2004.
Mr. Lubbers said while it is true UNHCR needs a balance of US$25m for the
repatriation and reintegration of Liberian refugees October 1 is a conducive
He said according to reports gathered UNMIL will be deplored throughout the
country by June. And from June to October there is a three-month wrap-up.
Continuing, Mr. Lubbers UNHCR wants to ensure that returnees are not resettled
in displaced camps but rather to their original areas.
Flanked by UNHCR Country Representative, Moses Okello and Zobia Hassim-Ashagarie,
Deputy Director, Africa Bureau at a press conference yesterday Mr. Lubbers
said all Liberian returnees will be given full attention.
© 2004: This article is copyrighted by The Inquirer newspaper (Monrovia,
Liberia) and distributed by The Perspective (Atlanta, Georgia). All rights reserved.