As Part of UNHCR African Effort, Nigeria Aims to Integrate or Return Refugees

As Part of UNHCR African Effort, Nigeria Aims to Integrate or Return Refugees

LAGOS, Nigeria -- About 5,000 refugees legally registered in Nigeria have been told they must fully integrate into Nigerian society or be repatriated to their home countries. The order came as a result of United Nations refugee agency's decision to cease providing relief aid to displaced persons in Africa whose home countries are no longer burdened by war.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the governments of Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Congo, Sudan, Somalia and Eritrea, have agreed to cooperate in a larger integration and repatriation effort being led by the agency across Africa. The Nigerian government's order to vacate the country's remaining camps, which house refugees mainly from the wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone, took effect this month.

UNHCR reached the decision in April to ask countries across Africa either to take in displaced persons or encourage them to return home, Lama Dickson, U.N. spokesman in Lagos, told World Politics Review. The UNHCR effort is aimed at encouraging conflict resolution and negotiation.

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