The Liberian Refugees in Sierra Leone have joined their brothers and sisters all over the world in celebrating their country’s 61st Independence Day on the theme, “Liberia at 61: The existence before and after independence and the way forward.” In Kenema east of the country, Liberians came out in hundreds and processed to the Holy Trinity Parish hall along Blama road in Kenema, where speeches were delivered to the audience.
The chairman of the occasion, James Philip, described the day as “historic for the people of Liberia” and called on everyone to reflect on what he or she has gone through during his or her lifetime.
In his statement, coordinator Sam Jaluwood extended thanks and appreciation to the government of Sierra Leone, NaCSA and many other humanitarian organizations for embracing the Liberian Refugees in Sierra Leone.
He explained that before independence the people of Liberia had been held in slavery while some escaped to secure their plight in other areas of the country, and that some citizens of Liberia have worked assiduously to protect their people which see good governance as a major core value for all.
Mr. Jaluwood disclosed that during the civil crises in Liberia, over 200,000 Liberian fled to neighboring countries, and added he was grateful of the fact that Sierra Leone hosted over 65,000 Liberian refugees.
The coordinator highlighted some of the constraints faced by the Liberian Refugees with NaCSA and UNCHR, and appealed to them to revisit their normal routine of operations for the well-being of the Liberian refugees, such as the provision of quality education for their children and the improvement on sanitation in the refugees’ host communities.
Giving his keynote address on behalf of Resident Minister East William Juana Smith, Mr. Femini Mamoud Jiba said Liberia and Sierra Leone “are brother and sister countries that are identical in some of their activities,” saying that the two countries have had a good working relationship and that anything that is affecting one country will affect the other.
Mr. Jiba disclosed that there are intermarriages going on between the two nations and he maintained that Liberians coming to Sierra Leone and Sierra Leoneans going to Liberia means meeting their second home. Mr. Jiba called on the Liberian refugees to be free within the country and report any problem they may encounter to the Resident Minister East Hon. William Juana Smith, whose door is open to all.
In his contribution the Kenema District Human Rights Committee (KDHRC), chairman Mr. Titus Masalay committed to improve the right of anybody in the country and appealed to the Liberian refugees to be law-abiding in their second country as Sierra Leone believes in the rule of law. Mr. Masalay added that all are welcome to visit his office as well. The programme climaxed with prayers for peace and development in the sub region by Bishop Francis Jacfoi, while Jaya Samuka made a meaningful contribution on behalf of the Provincial Secretary East Alhaji Salia Magona.