U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 2003 - Benin
|Publisher||United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants|
|Publication Date||1 June 2003|
|Cite as||United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 2003 - Benin , 1 June 2003, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3eddc49b4.html [accessed 22 February 2018]|
Benin hosted more than 6,000 refugees at the end of 2002, including more than 1,000 from Togo, nearly 1,000 from Congo-Kinshasa, and approximately 4,000 from other countries.
Refugees from Togo More than 1,000 Togolese refugees lived in Benin at year's end. As many as several thousand 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 2002, unable to repatriate safely.
The majority of Togolese refugees resided in urban centers, primarily Porto Novo, Ouidah, and Cotonou, the capital. Some 600 Togolese lived in Kpomasse refugee camp, 25 miles (45 km) west of Cotonou.
About 300 new refugees from various African countries arrived in Benin during the year. Most new arrivals joined other refugees in urban centers.
Approximately 600 refugees, primarily from Congo-Kinshasa, Nigeria, and Congo-Brazzaville, resided in Kpomasse camp.
More than 2,000 refugees received partial humanitarian assistance from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) during 2002.
UNHCR provided health care, education, housing, electricity, and water to residents of Kpomasse camp. Few refugees in Kpomasse chose to participate in income-generation programs offered by UNHCR to encourage self-sufficiency.
Urban refugees deemed "in need" and "vulnerable" by UNHCR received cooking utensils, water containers, and a housing allowance. UNHCR provided urban refugee children with school fees, uniforms, and supplies.
Urban refugee adults had access to education assistance, income-generation programs, and mental health services. Funding constraints forced UNHCR to curtail medical assistance to urban refugees during 2002.
Several hundred ethnic Ogoni Nigerians residing in Benin complained that the Beninese government and UNHCR had failed to grant them refugee status and provide them with protection from alleged mistreatment by Nigerian government agents and Beninese security officials.
UNHCR acknowledged that the population's proximity to Nigeria was of concern, but asserted that officially recognized Nigerian refugees received adequate assistance and protection.
The Beninese government continued to offer permanent integration in Benin to refugees who were unable to repatriate safely or resettle in other countries. Authorities have granted permanent resettlement in Benin to at least 150 refugees during the past three years.