The Myth of Self-Reliance: Economic Lives Inside a Liberian Refugee Camp by Naohiko Omata

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Veronica Fynn Bruey


Debunking the myth held by United Nations organisations, government workers, international researchers and local citizens that Liberian refugees in Ghana are self-reliant, Noahiko Omata’s introductory chapter opens with one of the most troubling accounts of the refugee experience in Ghana. In 2008, Liberian refugees in Ghana protested against the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) local integration package, rejecting a $5 per person repatriation cash grant to repatriate to Liberia as a durable solution to their protracted displacement. As someone who lived in Ghana and partly in Buduburam Refugee Camp for almost a decade, I can attest to the fact that survival as a refugee is mainly predicated on remittances and the good will of friends and family in Ghana and abroad. Omata’s The Myth of Self-Reliance raises difficult questions, implores sombre reflection, and stimulates critical learning about what is a genuine “durable solution” to protracted displacement in the context of Liberian refugees in Ghana.

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