PRESS RELEASE

COMMUNIQUE DE PRESSE

Year 2012 Selected
En Français
N°: 359/2012
19 December 2012 [Monrovia - Liberia]

ECOWAS SUPPORTS IVORIAN REFUGEES IN LIBERIA WITH HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE

							
	The ECOWAS Commission on Tuesday 18th December 2012 in Monrovia, handed over 
300 metric tons of rice to the Liberian Government for distribution to more 
than 66,800 Ivorian refugees in Liberia, who were displaced by the post-2012 
electoral crisis to flee their country.
 
Making the presentation at the Free Port of Monrovia to Liberia’s Minister of 
Finance, Honourable Amara Konneh, who also is in charge of ECOWAS affairs in 
the country, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, His Excellency Kadré 
Désiré Ouédraogo, said the provision of humanitarian assistance to citizens in 
distress “is a core task of our institution and by extension, the 
implementation of one of the assignments passed on to us by the Community.”. 

The Protocol on the Mechanism relating to Conflict Prevention, management, 
Peacekeeping and Security, the President said, also provides that the ECOWAS 
Commission should develop appropriate mechanisms and tools to enable it 
undertake humanitarian assistance to alleviate the sufferings of the 
population in the event of man-made or natural disasters.
 
“As part of the implementation of the humanitarian mandate, the ECOWAS 
Commission has within its limited resources been responding to the needs to 
our brothers and sisters inflicted with the pains of conflict, natural 
disasters and other humanitarian challenges through the provision of emergency 
relief material to Member States,” he added.
 
President Ouédraogo put ECOWAS’ overall humanitarian assistance to Ivorian 
refugees in Liberia at more than US$800,000, in addition to substantial 
financial support also provided to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Cote 
d’Ivoire.
 
He expressed the Commission’s sincere gratitude to the Government and people 
of Liberia for their “kindness, generosity and hospitality” extended to the 
Ivorian refugees. The president also thanked the regional office of the UN 
World Food Programme (WFP), for its collaboration, support and willingness to 
distribute the food items to the refugees.
 
Receiving the donation on behalf of the Liberian Government and the refugees, 
Minister Konneh, recalled ECOWAS’ contribution to the restoration of peace in 
Liberia and continued support for the country’s post-war reconstruction, 
ranging from security sector reforms to energy and infrastructure development, 
as well as political, economic and humanitarian assistance.
 
He said the country was encouraged by the spirit of regional integration and 
African unity, to shelter and assist displaced Ivorians, particularly because 
Liberians during their civil war years had benefitted from similar generosity 
from Cote d’Ivoire.
 
Speaking in the same vein, the Liberian Foreign Minister Honourable Blamoh 
Nelson, described ECOWAS as “the most effective regional organization in 
Africa,” adding that the humanitarian gesture was a demonstration of 
responsible and responsive leadership. 
 
He appealed for concerted action at all levels to rid the region of recurrent 
conflicts.

In his remarks, the Ivorian Ambassador to Liberia Mr. Kapieletien Soro, 
thanked ECOWAS for the humanitarian gesture, and expressed his gratitude to 
the Liberian government and people for their generosity.
 
He made a special appeal to the media to exercise restraint in their 
reporting, and to contribute to peace building, reconstruction and economic 
development in the region.

The Executive Director of the Liberia Refugee Repatriation and Resettlement 
Commission (LRRRC), Counsellor Wheatonia Dixon-Barnes, said the challenges of 
logistics for the storage, transportation and repackaging of the donated items 
prompted Liberia to approach the WFP for assistance.  She assured that the 
rice would be delivered to the targeted population.
 
The WFP Country Director, Dr. Getachew Diriba, provide details of the 
organization’s humanitarian work in Liberia and gave and assurance that the 
food donated by ECOWAS would be judiciously distributed.

Earlier, while welcoming President Ouédraogo and his delegation, the Managing 
Director, Liberia’s National Ports Authority, Mrs. Matilda Parker expressed 
the country’s happiness to “host this important handover ceremony.”
 
“ECOWAS countries have and important bond and we must extend the unity to the 
various seaports in the region to improve commerce, trade and most especially, 
security coverage,” she urged.

The ECOWAS chief and his delegation, which included the Commissioner for Human 
Development and Gender Dr. Adrienne Diop and Director of Humanitarian Affairs, 
Dr. Daniel Eklu, visited Zewdru, capital of Liberia’s South-eastern Grand 
Gedeh County, some 450-km from Monrovia, where one of the five camps for the 
Ivorian refugees is located.
 


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