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Africa News of Sunday, 12 September 2021


Cote d'Ivoire and host countries declare the end of refugee status

Côte d'Ivoire and the main countries that have hosted Ivorian refugees for 20 years, recently decided in Abidjan to end the refugee status of most of them, according to the French newspaper “La Croix”.

According to the newspaper, which quotes the UN Agency for Refugees (HCR), the improvement in the situation in Côte d'Ivoire justifies the decision, which covers about 51,000, but the decision is expected to take effect in 2022.

“Based on an in-depth analysis of the situation in Côte d'Ivoire, the HCR estimates that the circumstances under which many Ivorians left their country as refugees no longer exist and that many of them no longer need international protection,” he announced Tuesday, September 7, Raouf Mazou, High - Assistant HCR Commissioner for Operations.

According to the HCR, the suspension of this status, provided for as the status of the refugee himself, by the 1951 convention, which guarantees the right of uprooted people, as well as the legal obligations of States to ensure their protection, covers 51,000 Ivorian refugees in the sub-region, namely Liberia Ghana, Guinea, Togo, Mali, and Mauritania.

The aforementioned Ivorians fled the civil war of 2002-2007, and that of December 2010 to 2011. Since 2011, 287,000 Ivorians have voluntarily returned to Côte d'Ivoire.

According to the UN body, 60% of Ivorian refugees still want to be repatriated, 30% are undecided and 10% have decided to stay in the host country, where they have developed strong ties.

To respond to the demand, the HCR organizes column weeks for the repatriation of 1,800 people from Liberia, where the majority of refugees reside, with the UN facilitating the issuance of civil identity and travel documents.

For the HCR and the host countries, the end of refugee status is also justified, when President Alassane Ouattara pledged to pacify and reconcile spirits.

The return of the former head of state, Laurent Gbagbo, is the most visible manifestation of that desire.

After his overthrow in April 2011, 10 years in prison, and his release by international justice, Laurent Gbagbo and his supporters are normally preparing to regain power.