Last Updated: Friday, 29 July 2016, 15:01 GMT

U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 1999 - Benin

Publisher United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants
Publication Date 1 January 1999
Cite as United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 1999 - Benin , 1 January 1999, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6a8c3c.html [accessed 31 July 2016]
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.

Benin hosted approximately 3,000 refugees at the end of 1998, including at least 2,000 from Togo, and more than 1,000 from other countries, among them some 700 from Nigeria.

Refugees from Togo

Approximately 1,500 Togolese refugees were registered in Benin at year's end, according to UNHCR. Many more unregistered Togolese refugees may have remained in the country, according to government estimates.

Most arrived in 1993 with an influx of up to 150,000 Togolese who fled to Benin to escape their government's violent resistance to democratic reforms.

A general amnesty for Togolese refugees in 1994 and relative improvements in Togo in subsequent years led to the large-scale return of Togolese refugees as part of a UNHCR-organized repatriation program, completed in mid1997. No organized repatriation took place in 1998, although a few might have spontaneously returned home on their own.

Many Togolese refugees who remained in Benin at year's end were prominent opponents of Togo's ruling party and unlikely to repatriate. More than two-thirds lived in urban areas. About 300 lived in two refugee camps. Assistance programs ranged from basic health care and education to food distribution for vulnerable groups. UNHCR also supported income generation projects, vocational training, and subsidized employment programs.

Reports of Togolese security officials infiltrating refugee camps in Benin remained a protection concern. In August, Benin authorities arrested and interrogated a high-ranking Togolese army officer who entered one of the camps carrying false identity papers. That same month, a shootout occurred along the Togolese border, implicating some former Togolese soldiers who had become refugees at camps in Benin. UNHCR took steps to protect and resettle some of the refugees involved.

Refugees from Nigeria

Hundreds of Nigerian refugees arrived in Benin in 1996. Most were ethnic Ogoni who fled Nigeria following the November 1995 execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other members of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People, and the subsequent repression of ethnic Ogoni in January 1996. About 700 remained in Benin at the end of 1998 and did not wish to repatriate.

There were no reports of infiltration by Nigerian government agents, as occurred in previous years.

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