Lagos- Nigeria (PANA) -- The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR ) and the National Commission for Refugees (NCFR) will from 18-21 May begin a ca m paign and profiling exercise for â?no fewer than 5,263 registered Liberian refug eesâ? in the country, according to a statement from the UN Information Centre in Lagos made available to PANA.
â?The exercise is part of preparations for the local integration of Liberian re fugees in Nigeria.
It is to help UNHCR and other key actors to determine how bes t to implement local integration of refugees in the country,â? the statement said .
According to the UN Refugee Agency, the exercise will be coming after the succes sful implementation of the local integration exercise for Sierra Leonean refugee s in Nigeria in 2009.
â?It is hoped that at the end of the profiling, immigration officials from Libe ria would be invited to Nigeria to process applications for national passports, w hich should enable the refugees to obtain their ECOWAS resident cards.
Before th e end of the year the first batch of Liberian refugees would have received both l e gal and social economic package from UNHCR.
â? The agency, however, stated that the local integration exercise is only for Libe rian refugees recognized in Nigeria.
The statement explained that a cessation cl a use for Sierra Leonean refugees has become effective since 31 December 2008, whi c h means they have ceased to be refugees in Nigeria.
The idea to organize a multi-stakeholder regional exercise to settle Liberian re fugees and Sierra Leonean ex-refugees is meant to ensure smooth local integratio n of Liberians and Sierra Leoneans in West Africa.
The UNHCR said it became necessary to integrate refugees in their host communiti es, since the agency could no longer assist them indefinitely and to ensure that they continued to live with local populations without discrimination, had access to self-reliance/sustainable livelihood,enjoyed adequate security and protection in the same conditions as their hosts.
Key stakeholders and actors in the planned local integration exercise include Ni geria, Liberia Sierra Leone, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOW A S) and the refugees themselves.