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Sierra Leonean refugees' benefits expire
afrol News, 8 October - Sierra Leonean refugees in The Gambia have been called to make a decision on their status before 31 December this year when all assistance provided by the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) will be terminated.
An official of the UNHCR regional office in Senegal, Mariam Stephanie, told refugees that after the termination of assistance they will be left with only local integration benefit.
The onus lies on The Gambia government to agree on whether to issue a two-year permit allowing refugees to integrate and continue living as normal citizens.
She made it clear that all refugees must go through the process and that Gambian immigration officials deserve the right to accept or refuse any application.
Stephanie said refugees need to state valid reasons in their application. She said the UN refugee agency would not be able to do anything for refugees whose applications have been refused by Gambian authorities.
The eruption of a ten-year civil war in Sierra Leone in the mid-90s had resulted to influx of refugees in the sub-region. Thousands of refugees have voluntarily returned home at the end of war and restoration of democracy.
By staff writer
© afrol News
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