After disembarking, the new arrivals were taken to a transit centre at Toulepleu, where they could rest and receive cash assistance or medical services ahead of starting the final leg of their journeys back home.
For many, reintegrating in Côte d’Ivoire is not without its challenges, especially when it comes to finding housing, work and navigating various administrative procedures. To smooth the process, UNHCR has put in place a return assistance programme to help former refugees at various stages of their repatriation and reintegration.
Sea Inès Diehi, 50, was grateful for this assistance when she returned to Côte d’Ivoire in 2019 and found that her land had been occupied by other families. She received housing, cash assistance that allowed her to start a small business, and legal assistance that has enabled her to regain possession of her land.
“With a roof over my head, a way to earn a little money, and possession of my land, I can face the future with confidence,” she said.
On the eve of World Refugee Day on 20 June, and with the number of people forced to flee violence and persecution worldwide recently passing an unprecedented 100 million, the High Commissioner said he had chosen to accompany former refugees back to Côte d’Ivoire to send a message of hope for what can be achieved through peace and cooperation.
“There is no greater satisfaction for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees than to see a refugee crisis end because solutions have been found,” he said. “This is proof that durable solutions are possible if countries of origin, civil society, international organizations, as well as host countries work together.”
As Basile and his family prepared for the final leg of their voyage home, he took a moment to express his gratitude for the safety they had found in neighbouring Liberia. “Thank you to our Liberian brothers and sisters who welcomed and supported us all these years.”
Then his thoughts returned to home, and all the possibilities that lie ahead.
“We’re finally here! Now let’s see what the future holds.”