Cote d'Ivoire under pressure from foreign refugees

Abidjan- Cote d'Ivoire (PANA) -- Ivorian Defence and Civil Protection Minister, Lida Kouassi, says his country is "exhausted" from 10 years of "sacrifices" for Liberian and Sierra Leonean refugees in Cote d'Ivoire.
In a statement broadcast in Abidjan Tuesday, on the occasion of the "World Refugee Day," marked at Danane, near the Liberian border, the Minister said the problems faced by Cote d'Ivoire in hosting the refugees, included reduction in cultivable land and socio-economic pressure in the regions which continue to accommodate the displaced people.
He, therefore, called on donors to help rehabilitate the refugees.
The Minister, however, reaffirmed his country's commitment to "scrupulously respect" of the 1951 UN Geneva Convention on Refugees.
Events marking the Refugee Day, were witnessed by officials of the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and members of the Diplomatic Corps.
Cote d'Ivoire during the Liberian civil war of 1989-1997, sheltered up to 250,000 refugees from that country.
But about half of them have returned home, while others have decided to stay back.
Cote d'Ivoire is also hosting thousands of refugees from Sierra Leone, Rwanda and the two Congos.

20 june 2001 16:32:00

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