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RELIEF & RESETTLEMENT(R & R)

The Relief and Resettlement (R&R) Unit of National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA) has the statuary responsibility of providing humanitarian assistance to various categories of persons of concern affected by wars and conflicts as well as those seeking asylum from political and other forms of threats. The Relief and Resettlement (R&R) Unit was supervised under the Programmes Directorate of NaCSA responsible for humanitarian crisis that erupted as a result of the civil war in 1991.

The unit coordinates humanitarian assistance on behalf of government for refugees and other persons of concern in accordance with the provisions of the 2007 Refugee Protection Act with international minimum standards with support from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) as donor partners.

The mandate of providing protection and assistance to persons of concern as described in relevant international conventions have to date been executed by the Commission with utmost sincerity and due diligence, taking into cognizance the various international legal instruments as well as the 2007 Refugee Protection Act at domestic level to provide favorable protection for refugees, asylum seekers and other persons of concern including stateless persons, Internally Displaced Persons and other migrants.

Over sixty thousand (60,000) refugees fled from Liberia and hosted in Sierra Leone when civil war broke out in Liberia. These refugees resided in the South, East and Western Rural refugee camps and were provided education support, food and non-food items, health care and many more under the care and maintenance phase of refugee protection coordinated by the Relief and Resettlement staff in the commission.

The care and maintenance phased out in 2012 with the establishment of three durable solution: Voluntary Repatriation, Local Integration and Third Country Resettlement. These durable solutions were implemented by NaCSA in partnership with UNHCR-Sierra Leone and other relevant partners. UNHCR Sierra Leone phase-out in 2018 with commitment made by the NaCSA on behalf of the government of Sierra Leone to take ownership of the refugee programme in the country and handed over a residual caseload of 82 household heads with a population 446.

Presently, the Relief and Resettlement Unit is managing a residual caseload of 393 refugee persons of concernwho are adamant to opt for local integration which is the most feasible durable solution option to completely exit UNHCR refugee operations in Sierra Leone.

Inclusion of potential beneficiaries into the Social Safety-Nets (SSN) was a commitment made by the government of Sierra Leone through NaCSA to respond to the Global Compact on Migration (GCM) and the Global Compact for Refugees (GCR) promoting UNHCR Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF); empowering refugees or irregular vulnerable migrants to become self reliant.

 

 

 

 

 

Among other activities accomplished by the Relief and Resettlement include the following:

  • Consolidating the operations of National Refugee Legislation is a core activity with the enforcement of the cessation clauses for Liberian refugees, local integration, social services and shelter support were provided to refugees and hosting communities.

  • A series of coordination networks have already been established, sensitization and consultations have been held with all stakeholders; these include, the host communities, ministries, district councils, Human Rights Institutions, UNIPSIL and donors in addressing the specific capacity needs of the target beneficiaries.

  • Major activities were focused on assisting the residual caseload of Liberian refugees to locally integrate into both urban and rural host communities in Sierra Leone as part of the preferred durable solution to their plights; and provision of physical and legal protection to both refugees and asylum seekers.

  • The Relief and Resettlement unit of the Commission focuses on providing protection and support to refugees and other victims of emergency situations within the country.

  • Consistent with UNHCR principles, the specific objectives of the unit also geared towards providing refugees and disaster victims with basic needs and essential services; security from violence and exploitation; fair protection processes and documentation; and durable solutions.

  • The unit continues to utilize the Refugee Status Determination (RSD) center established in Kissi Town for RSD interviews and other protection related activities such as medical support, asylum registration, etc.

  • The R&R unit advocated for the inclusion of locally integrated refugees in the Western Area into the Micro Enterprise livelihood group (MEG) of the Sierra Leone Community Driven Development Project 11 promoting their small-scaled business enterprise, empowering them to become with resilience.

  • Inclusion of potential beneficiaries into the Social Safety-Nets (SSN) was also a commitment made by the government of Sierra Leone through NaCSA to respond to the Global Compact on Migration (GCM) and the Global Compact for Refugees (GCR) promoting UNHCR Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF); empowering refugees or irregular vulnerable migrants to become self reliant.

  • In collaboration with the lead Ministry on Migration; the Ministry of Internal Affairs/Immigration Department, the unit supported MDAs, UN agencies and CSOs/HRC to develop the National Migration Policy. The National Migration Policy contains a comprehensive and future-oriented framework for migration management in Sierra Leone with the overarching objective to enforce and improve the legislation and administrative procedures and to strengthen the capabilities of the institutions involved. This will be done in line with the treaties ratified by Sierra Leone and international standards. The National Migration Policy is, as a departmental strategic policy framework, aligned to the objectives of the for socio-economic development and to the national security of Sierra Leone. 

  • In collaboration with the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the focal point on Statelessness committed pledges at the High- Level Segment in Geneva, November 2020 to resolve existing major situations of statelessness regarding conferment of nationality to persons that are stateless or being at risk of becoming stateless. This has led to the approval of the National Action Plan on Statelessness; granting protection status to stateless, migrants and refugees thereby ensuring facilitation of their naturalization, provide documentation as well as advocating for mainstreaming identified vulnerable stateless persons or persons at risk of becoming stateless in Sierra leone.

  • The unit collaborated with the Office of the National Security (ONS), Social Protection Secretariat, other MDAs and UN agencies to providing Social Protection support to Ebola, mudslide and COVID-19 Endemic and Pandemic responses in the country

 

  • The inclusion of vulnerable irregular migrants and locally integrated exempted caseload of refugees into Social Safety-Nets (SSN) project in collaboration with IOM and the Ministry of Social Welfare will be highly prioritized in the next social protection scheme.

 

 

2.0 STRATEGIC FOCUS

  • NaCSA being the implementer of the 2007 Refugees Protection Acts, conducts individual status determination for asylum applicants for grant of refugee status in the country

 

  • Provides protection and assistance for refugees and asylum seekers

 

  • Provides livelihood assistance for self-reliance to exempted Liberian refugees and refugees and other nationalities including Ivorians and Sudanese.

 

  • Facilitates documentation processes through the issuance of birth certificate to new born refugee children to prevent statelessness.

 

  • Promote durable solution options (local integration/voluntary repatriation)

  • Taking ownership of the Refugee Programme in the phasing out of UNHCR in Sierra Leone by 2021

 

  • Expansion of Social Protection programme and strengthening implementation system

 

  • Mainstreaming locally integrated refugees into national development programme activities; responding to UNHCR Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) and the Global Refugee Forum (GRF) to ease the burden of host countries

 

  • Amendment of 2007 Refugee Protection Act for international best practice

 

  • Eradication of Statelessness (hereafter Abidjan Declaration) that was adopted at a Ministerial-level meeting in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, on 25 February 2015 and approved by the President of Sierra Leone during the ECOWAS Heads of States Summit in Accra, Ghana, on 19 May 2015.

 

  • Implement commitment actions needed to operationalize the pledges made at the Global Refugee Forum (GRF) and the High-Level Segment (HLS) on Statelessness; review results, progress and challenges and the impact of pledges of the global campaign to end statelessness by 2024

 

  • Commitment to develop a comprehensive approach to human mobility and enhanced cooperation at the global level to protect the safety, dignity and human rights and fundamental freedoms of all migrants, regardless of their migratory status.

 

  • Support the harmonization of a well-managed migration policy to assess the comprehensiveness of migration governance structures and identify priorities on the way forward. The Migration Outcomes include: generation of dialogue on well managed migration, identification of gaps to be addressed, assist in developing comprehensive migration strategies and help establish business to track progress on national and international commitments

 

 

 

Programme Manager:   Farama J.Bangura

faramajay@nacsa.gov.sl