U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 2000 - Gabon
|Publisher||United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants|
|Publication Date||1 June 2000|
|Cite as||United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 2000 - Gabon , 1 June 2000, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6a8c210.html [accessed 21 October 2016]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
Gabon hosted more than 15,000 refugees at the end of 1999, the vast majority from Congo-Brazzaville.
Refugees from Congo-Brazzaville
Large numbers of refugees fled to Gabon in 1999 to escape civil war in Congo-Brazzaville. By July, relief agencies estimated that as many as 30,000 Congolese refugees may have entered Gabon from Congo-Brazzaville. Another 3,000 refugees entered Gabon in October. The refugee population was spread along a 600-mile (about 1,000 km) stretch of border between the two countries. Many reportedly hid in forests on either side of the border, making exact estimates of the refugee population impossible. Some armed Congolese rebels reportedly fled to Gabon with the refugee population.
At the end of the year, the Gabonese government and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) conducted a census of refugee populations in two provinces most affected by the influx, and in the capital. They registered more than 13,000 Congolese refugees. Several thousand more refugees were scattered in other provinces. Gabonese government officials maintained that the actual number of refugees in the country may have been as high as 30,000 more than double the number registered because many refugees lived with local families and did not register to receive assistance.
UNHCR provided about 2,000 Congolese refugees in the capital, Libreville, with provisional cards certifying their refugee status. UNHCR and international aid agencies provided water, latrines, and temporary shelters for the refugees who remained near the border. At year's end, however, many refugee families continued to occupy public and private buildings.
In September, UNHCR established an office in Libreville, as well as two field offices in the border areas of Tchibanga and Franceville, in an effort to address the needs of the new refugee population.
No significant repatriation took place during 1999. There were several allegations during the year that Gabonese officials forced some refugees to return to Congo-Brazzaville involuntarily, particularly around the area of Franceville. However, the circumstances and number of refugees affected were unclear. UNHCR conducted a seminar for local authorities in November in an effort to raise awareness about refugee rights.