Refugees: Lomé Peace Agreement

ARTICLE XXII REFUGEES AND DISPLACED PERSONS

The Parties through the National Commission for Resettlement, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction agree to seek funding from and the involvement of the UN and other agencies, including friendly countries, in order to design and implement a plan for voluntary repatriation and reintegration of Sierra Leonean refugees and internally displaced persons, including non-combatants, in conformity with international conventions, norms and practices.

ARTICLE XXIII GUARANTEE OF THE SECURITY OF DISPLACED PERSONS AND REFUGEES

As a reaffirmation of their commitment to the observation of the conventions and principles of human rights and the status of refugees, the Parties shall take effective and appropriate measures to ensure that the right of Sierra Leoneans to asylum is fully respected and that no camps or dwellings of refugees or displaced persons are violated.

Implementation History

1999

Minimum Implementation

The specific date of the establishment of National Commission for Resettlement, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction (NCRRR) is not available. However, the Ministry of National Resettlement, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction was created in April 1996 and it ran a program on Resettlement, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction to address, “the short-term needs of demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants, resettlement of displaced people and refugees, and restoration of basic social services, as well as the medium-term reconstruction necessary to lay the foundation for long-term growth and development."1

According to the Secretary General’s September 1999 report on UNAMSIL, there were about one half million refugees in neighboring countries and repatriation had not commenced as of September 1999. The UNHCR was unable to reach many areas of origin of refugees and IDPs to assess whether conditions were good enough to their return.2

  • 1. "Secretary General’s Report on Sierra Leone," S/1997/80, January 26, 1997, p. 7.
  • 2. "Secretary General’s Report on UNAMSIL," S/1999/1003, September 28, 1999.
2000

Intermediate Implementation

At the government’s invitation, the RUF coordinator for humanitarian affairs was integrated into the NCRRR. UNHCR projects the return to be as many as 108,000 out of 450,000 in 2000 if the security situation improves. It was reported that a small number of Sierra Leonean refugees in Liberia returned to Pujehun.3 During the remainder of the year, progress in reparations was hindered due to continued fighting. When major violence erupted on the Guinean border in early September 2000, the Sierra Leonean Government assisted the repatriation of more than 20,000 Sierra Leonean refugees.4

  • 3. "Secretary General's Report on UNAMSIL," S/2000/186, March 7, 2000.
  • 4. "Secretary General's Report on UNAMSIL," S/2000/1199, December 15, 2000.
2001

Intermediate Implementation

Repatriation of refugees and resettlement of IDPs gained momentum in 2001. According to the Secretary General’s report on UNAMSIL, there were an estimated 510,000 refugees, with some 200,000 in Guinea and Liberia. There were 247,590 IDPs within Sierra Leone.5   

  • 5. "Secretary General’s Report on UNAMSIL," S/2001/1195, December 13, 2001.
2002

Intermediate Implementation

UNHCR assisted approximately 107,000 registered Sierra Leonean refugees, as well as an additional 80,000 unregistered refugees living outside camps. Since September 2000, UNHCR has assisted 68,698 refugees, while others returned spontaneously.6

“A central aspect of the recovery process is the facilitation of the resettlement of internally displaced persons and returning refugees. They are returning to areas that are among the poorest and most devastated, and where concentrations of ex-combatants are high. The third phase of the national resettlement programme commenced on 28 March and ran through 30 April, at which point operations were suspended for the election period. Some 120,000 internally displaced persons were resettled in the newly accessible areas during this phase” (page 6). The report further suggests that the UNHCR “expanded the resettlement of returnees to chiefdoms in Kono and Kailahun districts. Since March, more than 30,000 returnees have been resettled and more than 15,500 Sierra Leonean refugees repatriated (about 7,500 from Guinea and about 8,000 from Liberia). At present, approximately 22,000 returnees continue to reside in temporary settlements or host communities, in one chiefdom in Pujehun district. It is estimated that about 165,000 Sierra Leonean refugees continue to receive asylum in the subregion” (S/2002/679, June 19, 2002, page 6).

  • 6. "Secretary General’s Report on UNAMSIL," S/2002/267, March 14, 2002.
2003

Intermediate Implementation

The Secretary General’s March 2003 Report on UNAMSIL, noted the continuation of the UNHCR program for the repatriation of Sierra Leonean refugees from Guinea, Liberia and other countries. From the beginning of the program, some 200,000 Sierra Leoneans had returned from asylum countries. Among those repatriated, 124,000 benefited from individual assistance from UNHCR.7

 

“Since 2001, a total of 234,000 Sierra Leoneans have been repatriated (of whom 141,000 were assisted by UNHCR to return). This includes 63,000 from Liberia (48,000 assisted) and 170,000 from Guinea (92,000 assisted). An estimated 47,000 Sierra Leonean refugees remain in Guinea, of whom 25,000 are accommodated in UNHCR camps), an estimated 40,000 remain in Liberia (of whom 16,000 were in camps until the recent LURD advance on Monrovia)."8 There was brief pause or slowdown in the repatriation process due to fighting in Liberia and rain. Repatriation of the remaining 40,000 Sierra Leonean refugees residing in the subregion restarted at the end of October. Repatriation from Guinea and Liberia was expected to continue throughout the first six months of 2004.9

  • 7. "Secretary General’s Report on UNAMSIL," S/2003/321, March 17, 2003.
  • 8. "Secretary General’s Report on UNAMSIL," S/2003/663, June 23, 2003, p. 14.
  • 9. "Secretary General’s Report on UNAMSIL," S/2003/1201, December 23, 2003.
2004

Full Implementation

The repatriation of Sierra Leonean refugees by the UNHCR was completed on 21 July 2004. Since the program started in 2001, “UNHCR has repatriated 179,000 refugees, with 25,913 Sierra Leonean nationals repatriated in 2004.”10 Estimated 92,000 refugees returned unassisted, and close to 15,000 Sierra Leonean opted to stay in other countries.11

  • 10. "Secretary General’s Report on UNAMSIL," S/2004/724, September 9, 2004, p. 10.
  • 11. Ibid.
2005

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2006

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2007

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2008

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.