U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 2002 - Benin
|Publisher||United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants|
|Publication Date||10 June 2002|
|Cite as||United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 2002 - Benin , 10 June 2002, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3d04c14f1f.html [accessed 28 January 2015]|
Benin hosted approximately 5,000 refugees at the end of 2001, including about 1,000 from Togo, nearly 1,000 from Congo-Kinshasa, and some 3,000 from other countries.
Refugees from Togo
Approximately 1,000 Togolese refugees lived in Benin at year's end. As many as 1,000 additional unregistered Togolese refugees remained in the country, according to various estimates.
Most Togolese refugees fled to Benin in 1993 amid an influx of up to 150,000 people who were trying to escape the Togolese government's violent crackdown against democratic reforms. Most Togolese repatriated in 1997.
A small number of prominent opponents of Togo's ruling party remained in Benin during 2001, unable to repatriate safely. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has helped about 550 of the dissidents gain permanent resettlement in the United States and other countries during the past two years, including 50 such international resettlements during 2001.
Some refugees lived in a camp near Cotonou, the capital, while others lived on their own in Cotonou.
Some Togolese refugees remained concerned for their safety, fearing infiltration into Benin by Togolese government agents. UNHCR reported that assailants attempted to kidnap one refugee during 2002.
About 600 new refugees arrived in Benin during the year from various African countries. Benin's largest refugee camp, Kpomasse, located 30 miles (50 km) from the capital, housed about 1,000 refugees of various nationalities. About half of the 5,000 refugees in the country received partial humanitarian assistance from UNHCR.
Refugees from Nigeria complained that UNHCR failed to give them adequate protection from alleged mistreatment by Nigerian government agents and Benin's police. UNHCR acknowledged that some Nigerian refugees have expressed safety concerns.
In June, Benin's government blocked a ship carrying some 150 Liberian passengers from docking in Cotonou. UNHCR reported that it was "very concerned" because "some of the passengers may be refugees."
The Benin government continued to offer permanent integration in Benin to a modest number of refugees who were unable to repatriate safely or resettle in other countries. Authorities have granted permanent resettlement in Benin to at least 140 refugees during the past two years.