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Archive for March, 2008

 

Hundreds of Liberian women refugees arrested Monday by Ghanaian police remain in custody, and there are reports the Ghanaian government is considering deporting them back to Liberia as soon as possible. The BBC said a group of Liberian refugees most of whom are women were accused by a minister of being naked while protesting by the roadside, the refugees were protesting plans to send them back home with only US$100.

Some of the refugees told the BBC that they were beaten by the Ghanaian police at Buduburam camp.
While most of us Liberians are very grateful to the Ghanaian Government and the people of Ghana for their hospitality and generosity in our time of great needs, we also respectfully ask that they be patient with our people, and not resort to acts that would abuse the rights of our people, and further add insult to injury to women and children who not only lost everything during our country’s civil war, but must also live as beggars in another country. i live in Ghana for several years before coming to the states and i can tell you from experience that it is not easy for Liberians or any foreigner for that matter to just integrate into Ghanaian society, it is hard to start a business because the government don’t want you taking business from, or competing with their citizens, leaving many of our people to depend on aid from relatives abroad, or in some cases, our young women resorting to prostitution just to feed their family.
Meanwhile, The Coalition of Ghanian Human Rights Organizations says it will sue the government of Ghana if it fails to resort to the courts in dealing with the arrested Liberian Refugees. The coalition slammed the government of Ghana for what it calls an “over reaction” to the protests of the refugees. The coalition has formed an investigative team to look into the stand off between the refugees and the government.The team comprises of people from the Legal Resources Centre and the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative. A fact finding team was dispatched to both the Buduburam camp and holding area for the over 600 arrested refugees in Kordeabe in the Eastern Region. The team claimed its initial findings revealled that the rights of the refugees had been grossly violated by the Ghanaian government. The Head of the Legal Resources Centre, Mr. Edward Amuzu who was part of the team told the press that the public was generally misinformed on the crisis.He said the women had not striped themselves naked as had been reported in the media and that there were no road-blocks at the Buduburam camp.Mr. Amuzu said the government’s handling of the crisis was embarrassing to the country.According to him only a court of competent jurisdiction could determine whether the refugees should be repatriated.The Country Representative of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, Ms Hida Harley Mariam told the BBC that the UNHCR was concerned about the manner in which the crisis was being handled.She said the Commission supported the government’s decision to ensure that the refugees respected the country’s laws.It was however worried about any disproportionate action by the government.The Minority spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Mr. John Mahama said although the demands by the refugees could be unreasonable, it was important to protect their human rights.He said the anger of the Interior Minster should not be allowed to damage the reputation of the country.
The Liberian government is said to be sending a delegation led by the Liberian Foreign Minister to Ghana to plead with the government to rescind its decision to repatriate the protesting refugees.
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Liberian born singer Miatta Fahnbullen remains one Africa’s finest voices. She always wanted to sing, but the bug really hit her at 16. A desire that caused problems with her father, the Liberian Ambassador to Sierra Leone. Liberia was not very progressive and women, especially ambassadors’ daughters, didn’t sing in dance halls and clubs, so Miatta pursued her craft on the down low. She once came in second in a talent contest that she couldn’t attend because her father found out and wouldn’t let her go; the judges graded her from a tape. At 19, after graduating from high school in Sierre Leone she moved to Nairobi, Kenya to attend Junior College. She dropped out and moved to Monrovia, Liberia to D.J. alienating her father who wrote her out of his will, and distanced himself from her. She started singing professionally often making more money in one night then most Liberians made in a month. Shortly after that her father was sentenced to 20 years in prison for treason and other charges. Seeing no future in Monrovia, Miatta boarded a plane in 1968 for New York, NY. She immediately displayed her singing skills by entering a contest at the Apollo Theater and coming in second. Miatta not only sang, but compose and produced her songs also.

Here is one of her classic songs from the 80s, i love this song because it reminds me so much of when i was growing up as a kid in Paynesville, Liberia.

Miatta has a degree in Music and Drama from the American Music & Dramatic Academy in New York. In Africa, she started performing and recording in earnest doing an album with Hugh Masekela in Lagos, Nigeria that was shelved for years. She toured with Masekela in 1976 in the States, then took part in the Festac Festivals. She moved to England for seven years, a country where she had spent four years in boarding school as a juvenile and finishing at 13. In England she became involved with the community of Africans and won the populace’s respect before returning to Africa in 1984 to continue her activist activities, becoming a dynamic speaker for issues concerning women and children. Miatta became a Good Will Ambassador for ECOWAS in 1990, an organization of 16 African counties involved in the integration of the West Coast of Africa. In 1991, she became the official Good Will Ambassador of Liberia. She’s recorded and produced several albums, and her songs are featured on many compilation albums.

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