Download Africa Overview
31 December 2012
Liberia’s civil war caused the internal displacement of around 500,000 people between 1989 and 2003. Many IDPs sought refuge in the capital Monrovia, where the population rose from 600,000 to nearly one million during the conflict. Large numbers set up spontaneous settlements on public land in and around Monrovia, while others took refuge in camps or with host families. By 2007 most IDPs able to return had done so, and by 2011 the government and its international partners considered the country’s internal displacement situation to be largely resolved.
As of the end of 2012, the number of IDPs still to achieve a durable solution to their displacement was unknown. Return assistance programmes focused exclusively on IDPs living in camps, and those living in unofficial settlements in Monrovia did not benefit, leaving them vulnerable to forced eviction and unemployment. IDPs who returned home to rural areas continued to face challenges in resuming their livelihoods in 2012, often as a result of unresolved land and property issues made worse by ethnic tensions. In November, the Land Commission issued a policy statement, which will form the basis for upcoming land law reform. It sought to clarify and secure land tenure rights, whether statutory or customary, and is a positive step toward clarifying land rights in rural areas. It will not, however, address the situation of IDPs living on public land in and around Monrovia, as they do not have ownership rights.
As of the end of 2012, Liberia was still to ratify the Kampala Convention.
25 June 2009: ICRC report shows continuing impact of displacement caused by civil war
A recent survey commissioned by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has highlighted the impact
that the 14-year long civil war has had on Liberians. Becoming displaced still represented the biggest fear for more than a third of the respondents. Nine out of ten respondents had to leave their homes and nearly as many had their houses looted. In most cases, because of displacement, people lost contact with their close relatives.
The armed conflict ended five years ago, and the government declared the IDP return process to be completed in 2006. However, challenges remain, including high unemployment (particularly among young people and ex-combatants), drug trafficking and food insecurity. A UN Security Council mission
in May 2009 highlighted the need for progress in developing Liberia’s security institutions.