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Our citizens in exile Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Edward Jolotee Foiryolo Sr., Liberia Aug 3, 2008
Peace & Conflict , Refugee Rights , Human Rights   Opinions


I am one of those Liberians who left Liberia at the inception of the war in1990. I had the opportunity to be sponsored by the United Nations through a German program called DAFI, but despite that I have suffered being a refugee. I have since travelled to regions where I have seen other Liberians stranded. These include the Sahara desert, the Algerian border with Mali, Ghana, Niger and others. Let us remember these people daily because they never went there willingly. I want this to be a global concern: we constantly receive reports that economic migrants were intercepted or died during their passage to Europe in the search for greener pastures. So why shouldn’t we also be in a position to report this about my Liberian brothers who are stranded, along with other African immigrants, hoping to enter North Africa for survival?

I have been on that road for more than ten years, and every time I pass by I feel guilty because I am not in the position to help them. I want to be more proactive, hence I have been actively involved in a youth organisation based in Monrovia, Liberia, called Youth Against Violence In Liberia. The aim of this organization, for which I am the National Chairman, is to seek the help of donor partners and the United Nations in bringing our citizens back home, where we now have a democratically-elected government headed by the first female president of Africa, Madame Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. This issue should not be disregarded: we are part of the suffering; we should know that there are people living on this very planet who can not afford a penny per day.

The United Nations have started the repatriation of those of our brothers and sisters who were residing in Ghana and other countries around the globe which hosted them during the civil war. However they do not seem aware that some Liberians are stranded at the Mali-Algeria border and the Niger-Algeria border. Most of them are found in a Malian city called Gao. Can you remember this name from the narratives of the Trans-Sahara trade?

I spent my time in Abidjan studying International Trade at the E.S.T. Loko Tertiary College thanks to assistance from the United Nations. My studies were in French, making me bilingual. Today I work for my country in the Ministry of Commerce as a Senior Commerce Inspector, but I remain unsatisfied. I continue to remember that I saw my brothers out there stranded. There was not much that either we or the government could do to help as we did not frequently travel on that road to North Africa. Therefore we do not want to point fingers of blame. But there is something that we can do as a Liberian Youth Organization: we can ask for interested volunteers to join us and we can launch an appeal on behalf of our stranded people.

Please remember that a stranded man is a very hopeless man, and he can endure the most humiliating of conditions just to live for the next day. Let us keep these Liberians on our minds daily and ask that one day the central government will intervene. Our Youth Group is very concerned and is willing to give the exact locations of those stranded Liberians. I believe that the U.N., through it's International Organisation for Migration office, has the ability to assist tremendously in the process.



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Edward Jolotee Foiryolo Sr.

My name is Edward Jolotee Foiryolo Sr. I live in Monrovia, Liberia. I was sponsored by the UNHCR in Côte d'Ivoire for four years, where I studied Gestion Commerciale. I did my course in French which helped me a lot, making me a Bilingual. I came out with a Brevet de technicien supérieur (B.T.S.). I am currently the head of a local youth organisation called Youth Against Violence in Liberia. I am currently serving my government in the Ministry of Commerce as a Senior Commercial Inspector.
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