‘Hanging in the Air’: The Experiences of Liberian Refugees in Ghana

Heaven Crawley, Veronica Fynn Bruey

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The civil wars that devastated Liberia between 1989 and 2003 displaced an estimated 800,000 people internally, with more than a million people travelling to neighbouring countries in West Africa in search of protection and the opportunity to rebuild their lives. More than 15 years after the Accra Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed, tens of thousands of Liberians continue to be displaced in Liberia, Ghana, and Côte d’Ivoire. Whilst some have been resettled – primarily to Canada, the US, Australia, and European countries – most have been left ‘hanging in the air’, living in extreme poverty, marginalised from mainstream development policies and planning, and unable to either contribute to, or benefit from, efforts to rebuild peace and security in their home country. Their needs, interests and aspirations have been largely ignored by academics and policymakers in the Global North whose focus, particularly over recent years, has been primarily on the drivers of migration from West Africa across the Mediterranean to Europe. At a regional level, there have been efforts by the Economic Committee of West African States (ECOWAS) to provide alternative models of integration, particularly since the United Nations High Commissioner Refugees (UNHCR) announced the cessation of refugee status for Liberian refugees in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire in June 2012. However, significant barriers to both local integration and safe-third country resettlement remain. This chapter examines the experiences of Liberian refugees living in Ghana and their struggles to secure national and international protection in a context where returning to Liberia remains impossible for many.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIMISCOE Research Series
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Publication series

NameIMISCOE Research Series
ISSN (Print)2364-4087
ISSN (Electronic)2364-4095


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