Last Updated: Friday, 15 December 2017, 16:28 GMT

U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 2003 - Cameroon

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 - Cameroon , 1 June 2003, available at: [accessed 18 December 2017]
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.

More than 15,000 refugees lived in Cameroon at the end of 2002, including approximately 15,000 from Nigeria and about 2,000 from various other countries. About 30,000 people from Chad lived in refugee-like circumstances in Cameroon.

Approximately 5,000 Cameroonians were seeking asylum in Europe.

Refugees from Nigeria

More than 20,000 new Nigerian refugees fled to Cameroon during 2002, joining thousands already there.

Nearly all of the new arrivals were ethnic Fulani herdsmen who entered northwest Cameroon with hundreds of thousands of cattle after fleeing targeted violence in eastern Nigeria in January and April.

While some 8,000 Nigerian refugees spontaneously repatriated during the year, approximately 15,000 remained in Cameroon at the end of 2002.

The Cameroonian Red Cross initially provided Nigerian refugees with limited humanitarian assistance, including corn, blankets, sleeping mats, and water containers.

Although the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) closed its office in Cameroon at the end of 2001 because of budget constraints, the agency temporarily re-established its presence through short-term staffing and began providing limited assistance to the refugees in September.

Chadians in Cameroon Civil war and insurrections in Chad pushed waves of Chadian refugees into Cameroon during the 1970s and 1980s. In recent years, safer conditions in Chad have prompted Chadian refugees to depart Cameroon and return home. UNHCR has helped about 7,000 Chadians return home from Cameroon since the beginning of a voluntary repatriation operation launched in 1999.

Most of the estimated 30,000 Chadians who remained in Cameroon at the end of 2002 appeared increasingly unlikely to repatriate because they had already integrated into local communities and were self-sufficient. The U.S. Committee for Refugees no longer considers them to be refugees, but classifies them as "refugee-like."

Refuges from Other Countries

About 2,000 refugees from various other African countries resided in Cameroon during 2002. Most lived in the capital, Yaoundé, and received limited humanitarian assistance.

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