The Governments of Côte d’Ivoire and countries hosting large numbers of Ivoirian refugees on Tuesday signed a joint declaration leading to cessation of refugee status for the vast majority of them.
The two-day regional meeting held in Abidjan also stressed to intensify voluntary repatriation and support alternative legal status for those who opt to remain in their countries of asylum.
The decision comes at a time when 60 percent of Ivorian refugees surveyed wish to repatriate, while 30 percent of Ivorian refugees and asylum seekers in West and Central Africa say that they are undecided, and 10 percent have made up their minds to stay in their host country where they have developed strong links.
Currently, UNHCR is organizing weekly repatriation convoys of 1,800 Ivorian refugees from Liberia, the majority reside.
Selim Meddeb Hamrouni is spokesperson for UNHCR West Africa bureau.