Dakar- Senegal (PANA) -- UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Ruud Lubbers, has left Cote d'Ivoire for Ghana, where he is expected to meet President John Agyekum Kufuor and other top government officials before visiting the Buduburam Refugee Settlement outside Accra.
Lubbers is on a West African tour that will also take him to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
The West Africa region is home to over 520,000 refugees, with about 400,000 of them residing in the five nations Lubbers is currently touring.
The UNHCR official is scheduled to travel on Wednesday to Liberia, where he will spend most of the day before flying in the late afternoon to Freetown, Sierra Leone.
While in Monrovia, he is scheduled to hold discussions with President Charles Taylor and other officials and later visit camps hosting refugees and internally displaced persons.
Sierra Leonean President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah and other government officials are scheduled to have meetings with Lubbers on Thursday before he visits Tobanda camp and other settlements and programmes for returnees and Liberian refugees.
Lubbers is eager to assess the enormous progress made in Sierra Leone over the past few years, including a UNHCR-assisted repatriation programme that has helped over 220,000 persons return home since 2000, UNHCR spokesperson Francesca Fontanini said.
On the final stage of his tour in Guinea, Lubbers is scheduled to meet with various government officials before travelling on Saturday to the Nzerekore region in the south of the country, where he will visit Liberian and Ivorian refugees.
He returns to Conakry Sunday for several meetings before departing for Geneva later in the evening.
Lubbers on Monday met with Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo, Prime Minister Seydou Diarra and other senior officials to discuss possible solutions for refugee populations in the strife- torn West African country.
He expressed particular concern about an estimated 9,000 Liberian refugees in Nicla camp, in the west of the country.
On Sunday, Lubbers visited Nicla camp, where he met with representatives of various refugee groups, who expressed concern about insecurity in western Cote d'Ivoire and their desire to be relocated elsewhere.
Hundreds of schoolchildren, who gathered to greet the High Commissioner, loudly chanted, "We want to go home, we are not dead.
" Lubbers told Nicla's refugee representatives that UNHCR was working on three different ways to help them -- through relocation to a safer area within Cote d'Ivoire, resettlement in third countries, and repatriation to Liberia.
He pitied Liberians who have been victimised twice, first in their own country and then again when public sentiment turned against them in Cote d'Ivoire.