Misunderstandings and Protests Arise Amid Rehabilitation Efforts for Vulnerable Returnees

Jun 19, 2024 - 13:07
Jun 19, 2024 - 13:10
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Misunderstandings and Protests Arise Amid Rehabilitation Efforts for Vulnerable Returnees

Monrovia - The Liberia Refugee Repatriation and Resettlement Commission (LRRRC) has faced significant public criticism following protests by returnees who claim they are being mistreated and denied promised financial aid. These returnees, many of whom are vulnerable to drug use, were brought to the camp on the night of June 17 by General Power, CEO of Star Base, an institution dedicated to rehabilitating those susceptible to drug abuse.

General Power has accused the LRRRC of misappropriating funds and has demanded additional payments. He alleged that the LRRRC received $6 million USD, of which each returnee was supposed to get $1000. This accusation has sparked significant unrest among the returnees.

Simone Witherspoon, the communication officer for the LRRRC, refuted these claims, stating, "The LRRRC has not received any such amount. We are still in the process of formalizing our agreement with General Power. So far, he has received an initial sum of 250,000 LRD to start the rehabilitation process."

To ensure that every returnee receives their fair share, the LRRRC has implemented a verification process involving the issuance of ID cards and unique ID numbers. "We are doing this to prevent duplication and ensure that the funds are distributed equitably," explained Witherspoon.

According to Witherspoon, the financial support plan will see heads of each family receiving $350, while each family member will receive $250. "This structure aims to provide fair and systematic disbursement of funds to all eligible returnees," she added.

In addition to financial support, the LRRRC has developed a settlement plan for the returnees. Those who have homes and families in different parts of the country will be returned to their families after receiving their financial packages. For those without homes, the camp will remain their residence until further notice.

The LRRRC has been at the center of public criticism for allegedly ill-treating the returnees. The protests have brought to light the fragile situation of the returnees, many of whom are in dire need of support. The LRRRC is working to address the issues and restore order. Witherspoon emphasized, "Our priority is the well-being of the returnees. We are committed to ensuring they receive the support they need."

General Power's actions have also been questioned, as he has been accused of inciting unrest among the returnees to demand more money from the institution. Despite this, the LRRRC is focused on moving forward with the rehabilitation efforts.

The situation remains tense, but the LRRRC is hopeful that through transparency and structured support, they can resolve the misunderstandings and provide the necessary aid to the returnees.

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