War Torn: Liberian Refugees May Be Forced Home By US

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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