War Torn: Liberian Refugees May Be Forced Home By US


| July 12, 2000


War Torn: Liberian Refugees May Be Forced Home By US

During Liberia's bloody 1989-1996 civil war 10,000 to 15,000 Liberian refugees fled to the United States. The Clinton administration plans to send them home in September, to a country the US discourages visiting for safety reasons, unless Congress grants them permanent residency. MetroTimes Detroit staff writer Ann Mullen tells the story of Wissedi Sio Njoh, who narrowly escaped death at the hands of troops loyal to rebel leader Charles Taylor, and of her struggle to keep her family in the country they now call home.

'Though Liberia's civil war officially ended in 1996, claiming about 200,000 lives,' writes Mullen, 'Njoh and others fear that if they return, they may meet a similar fate in a country still plagued with lawlessness, and ruled by the same man who started the civil war.'

According to a recent State Department report, says Mullen, the human rights record of Charles Taylor, now Liberia's president, is 'poor.' The report states: 'The security forces committed many extrajudicial killings. ... Security forces tortured, beat, and otherwise abused or humiliated citizens. ... Security forces continue to use arbitrary arrest and detention. ...'

According to a recent State Department report, says Mullen, the human rights record of Charles Taylor, now Liberia's president, is 'poor.' The report states: 'The security forces committed many extrajudicial killings. ... Security forces tortured, beat, and otherwise abused or humiliated citizens. ... Security forces continue to use arbitrary arrest and detention. ...'

Mullen continues: 'The National Liberian Working Group, which represents refugees in the United States, goes further, saying many Liberians may be killed if repatriated because Taylor may view them as siding with the former ruling party... The NLWG is pushing lawmakers... to grant Liberians permanent residency by passing Senate Bill 656.'Go there>>



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