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Warning for Sierra Leonean Refugees

Oct 6, 2008, 6:59 AM | Article By: Augustine Kanjia

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees UNHCR has urged the Sierra Leonean refugees in the country to take an option before their succession comes to an end in December 2008.

Addressing refugees at GAFNA office in Bakau, three UNHCR officials from Dakar including Mariam, Stephanie and Benedicta Voos encouraged Sierra Leonean refugees to understand what is in the offing for them.

Mariam, explaining the three points to the refugees, in al well packed conference room said, "UNHCR'S assistance will end in December 2008. The succession of Sierra Leonean refugees will come into play. All their assistance will be terminated then." The second phase she said was Local Integration. "This depends on the agreement with the government. Two years permit B. this will enable the refugees integrate and continue living as normal citizens," she said.

The third part of it she said was the exemption.

According to Mariam, the exemption has two aspects acceptance or rejection. She says' "The refugee will fill a form and immigration would have to approve it, If anyone is rejected UNHCR has nothing to do with you.

Infact the refugee must have a valid reason for choosing the Exemption."

She further said that Sierra Leonean refugees had only 7 weeks, between 13th October to 1st December for this. "The forms are at GAFNA to fill.

UNHCR had earlier on registered refugees for repatriation, which is yet on going. They have warned everyone over 18 years should fill the form for the Permit, under 18 as dependent. All issues they say be tackled before 1st December.  Repatriation ends on 15th January 2009. And all exemption forms are to be returned to the Immigration department.