The UNHCR regional reintegration and local integration officer, Veronique Gehaile, has told Liberian refugees encamped in Sierra Leone to forget about third country resettlement and pay attention to local integration in the interest of
Madam Veronique Gehaile was addressing refugees and host community members at Bandajuma, Jimmy Bagbo, Jembe and Tobanda refugee camps during her three-day
tour of Liberian refugee camps recently in Sierra
She said the international donors had designed local integration as a durable solution to refugee problems, which she said was not unique to Sierra Leone.
Madam Gehaile disclosed that third country resettlement by the refugees had been closed down.
Talking about the components of the local integration, the UNHCR officer revealed that her organization would support integrating refugees in the areas of youth’s programmes, security, HIV/AIDS and education.
She further pointed out that vulnerable refugees would be given special attention during the integration process.
She said legal status, sound economic background and vocational training were among the basic components of local integration, emphasizing that the programme was
With regards shelter construction in the local communities, she stressed that refugees would be responsible for building their own houses instead of the local community members or NaCSA, saying that no food-for-work would be supplied for refugees’ house
construction but rather food- for- work would be provided only for local community development projects.
She however disclosed that special consideration would be given to the acute vulnerable refugees in the categories of physically disabled, single heads of
family, unaccompanied minors and permanently sick people.
Madam Gehaile impressed upon the minds of the refugees that life in the local communities would be challenging and quite different from the one in the
camps as they would be holistically responsible for their welfare like any Sierra Leonean national.
Meanwhile, she said social facilities in the local communities where the refugees would be integrated might be reviewed, depending on the needs of the communities and encouraged the women to embrace income generating activities in their respective
communities of settlement.