Last Updated: Thursday, 17 April 2014, 13:11 GMT

U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants World Refugee Survey 2006 - Côte d'Ivoire

Publisher United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants
Publication Date 14 June 2006
Cite as United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants World Refugee Survey 2006 - Côte d'Ivoire, 14 June 2006, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/44b4f18d4.html [accessed 18 April 2014]
DisclaimerThis 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.

Refoulement/Physical Protection

There were no reported cases of refoulement. The Government and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) decided 306 cases during the year, granting 60 and leaving 2,400 pending.

Following an information campaign by UNHCR, 5,800 refugees returned to Liberia, mostly in the first half as returns declined around the October elections in Liberia, increasing again thereafter. More than a hundred Liberian refugees resettled in other countries.

The Government and its militia recruited refugees, including Liberian children from camps in the west. Liberian refugees were also reportedly involved with government-linked irregular forces that committed extrajudicial killings.

Detention/Access to Courts

Although the 2004 law on identification and residence of foreigners provided that provisional residence authorization of asylum seekers and refugee cards constituted residence permits, security officers often did not honor refugees' identity documents, whether Government or UNHCR issued them, and, in some cases, reportedly destroyed them and arbitrarily detained, harassed, and beat refugees at checkpoints. According to the U.S. State Department, security forces faced no sanctions for confiscating or destroying non-citizens' identification papers. Government-led security forces also conducted summary executions.

The law on identity cards provided for cards for non-Liberians whom the National Eligibility Commission granted refugee status. Liberians who arrived before 2003 received temporary cards as a group but later arrivals did not. UNHCR gave some of the latter refugee certificates.

UNHCR registered and issued identity documents to 7,500 refugees in Nicla camp, the city of Guiglo, and Danané at the beginning of the year. Renewed fighting in the area interrupted the process, leaving the remainder of refugees both unregistered and undocumented.

Freedom of Movement and Residence

Most refugees resided in the 40-mile (60-km) refugee hosting zone bordering Liberia. The Government only permitted assistance to refugees within this area, and the highest concentration of refugees in this zone were in the two camps of Tabou and Nicla. A further 4,000 refugees lived in Abidjan.

Security forces and civilian "self defense committees" harassed and extorted money from truckers, foreigners, refugees, and others at roadblocks, especially during the first half of the year.

There were no official restrictions on refugees' movements within the country, but continued insecurity through much of the country severely hindered movement. Fighting erupted in the western towns of Logouale in February, and Duékoué in May and June, creating greater insecurity for refugees residing in the area. Those living in the border districts of Ben-Houyen, Zouan-Hounien, Blolequin, and Toulepleu were unable to move away from those locations even as UN personnel withdrew.

Right to Earn a Livelihood

It remained virtually impossible for refugees to work legally in Côte d'Ivoire. A 1997 executive order required all foreigners, with no exception for refugees or asylum seekers, to obtain an employment contract or an employment letter from the work minister before admission. The order also required two months' advertisement of the position, non-acceptance by any Ivoirian worker, and payment of a fee ranging from $18 to nearly $1,400 (10,000 to 750,000 CFA francs) depending on the applicant's origin and skill level. The Government also offered discriminatory tax incentives to employers who hire nationals over foreigners with no exception for refugees.

Public Relief and Education

While encouraging the return of Liberian refugees, UNHCR continued to provide basic assistance to refugees remaining in the camps and surrounding areas. Pro-government militias reduced the access of both UNHCR and nongovernmental organizations to refugee hosting areas. Outbreaks of violence in February, March, May, June 2005, and January 2006 hampered delivery of humanitarian assistance.

In Abidjan, UNHCR provided primary education and health services to Liberian refugees and facilitated vocational training courses and income-generating activities. Conditions in Nicla were reportedly better than those in nearby IDP camps, meeting UNHCR standards for housing, water, sanitation, health services, and education.

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