Back in Budu

Been back in the Buduburam settlement for a little over a week now, and it seems clear that we arrived just as tensions were easing between the different parties. While the overt crisis seems to be under control now, there are still many, many unresolved issues at a number of different levels. The refugee community receives only limited, fragmented information concerning their future and the decisions made on their behalf, which leads to the elaboration of many rumors and theories that only contribute to increasing anxiety and uncertainty.

The UNHCR is essentially nowhere to be seen, found or heard – at least, not in the field. Voluntary repatriation has been reopened for registered refugees (it had been closed in August 2007), but to all the unregistered refugees living in Buduburam, going “home” seems like an almost unsurmountable hurdle… For those who can be repatriated, they are all very worried about leaving with only 20kg of belongings and $100 – imagine if you had to rebuild your life (again) with only this, and in extremely difficult conditions (Liberia, while it is in the process of post-conflict reconstruction, still faces enormous challenges)

I’m going to the court hearing of the remaining 22 women (including 6 children aged between 4 and 11) who are in custody of Immigration Services on Monday. Since internet access is – at best – frustrating in Buduburam, I will probably update then….

2 thoughts on “Back in Budu

  1. Thank you for your update and insights. Reading your blog was like finally having an insider in the camp to see what is really going on.

    The reports I’ve been reading online have been wild with accusations and rumors, of which it is hard to tell what is true. I support a young couple there and have known that we are not getting the full story. Your insights and observations are important. Thank you

  2. rumors abound… we’ve been hearing several lately. none of which are substantiated. thanks for being our eyes and ears on the ground. your work is greatly appreciated.

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