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Security Council calls for funds to help refugees affected by Sierra Leone conflict

Security Council calls for funds to help refugees affected by Sierra Leone conflict

Members of the United Nations Security Council today called upon the international community to make more funds available for relief work on behalf of refugees and internally displaced people in West Africa, particularly in Sierra Leone.

The call came in a press statement by the current Council President, Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury of Bangladesh, after the Council had been briefed on the situation in Sierra Leone, and on Secretary-General Kofi Annan's report on the situation of refugees and internally displaced persons in the Mano River Union countries - Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

"Council members took note of the recent developments regarding the refugees and the internally displaced persons in these countries and expressed concern at the continuing humanitarian crisis," the Council President said, adding that the members of the Council appreciated the burden placed on host countries as a result of the crisis, and commended their efforts in providing asylum, protection and assistance to people in need.

The members of the Council agreed with the three-phased approach by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for repatriating refugees to Sierra Leone: relocate the refugees away from dangerous border areas, provide greater protection for people who remain in the volatile region, and arrange for voluntary repatriation of refugees to their home country. All parties were also urged to ensure the human rights and security of all refugees and displaced people, as well as the safety of humanitarian personnel.

Expressing their appreciation for the proactive role played by the UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) in recent weeks to promote the peace process, the Council members urged that contributions be made at the upcoming donors' conference in Paris on 11 and 12 June, towards UNAMSIL's process of disarming armed groups.

The members of the Council also encouraged Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia to enter a process of dialogue for promoting peace in the sub-region and said that they appreciated the role of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in that regard.