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

U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 2001 - Djibouti

Publisher United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants
Publication Date 20 June 2001
Cite as United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 2001 - Djibouti , 20 June 2001, available at: [accessed 17 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.

Approximately 22,000 refugees lived in Djibouti at year's end, including about 20,000 from Somalia, and more than 2,000 from Ethiopia.

About 1,000 Djiboutian refugees remained in Ethiopia.

Refugees from Somalia, Ethiopia

Most Somali refugees arrived in Djibouti during 1988-90 as a result of civil war in Somalia.

The majority of Somali refugees who remained in Djibouti at the end of 2000 were originally from the self-declared independent territory of "Somaliland." Most resided in two camps near Djibouti's borders with Somalia and Ethiopia. More than 11,000 lived in Holl Holl camp, and an estimated 9,000 in Ali Adde camp. Another 1,000 Somali refugees lived in Obock camp, northeast Djibouti.

The Ali Adde and Holl Holl camps overcame traditionally difficult living conditions and "attained minimum standards" during the year, a UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) report stated. Budget constraints prevented enhancement of deteriorating water systems and necessary improvements in health and educational centers. UNHCR continued to administer micro-credit projects for refugee women, and environmental rehabilitation projects such as small-scale agriculture production.

While an estimated 5,000 Somali refugees voluntarily repatriated from Djibouti to southern Somalia during 2000, political tension between authorities in Djibouti and Somaliland hindered the return of more refugees to northern Somalia.

An estimated 1,000 Somali refugees living in Eritrea fled to Djibouti during 2000 because of warfare in southern Eritrea.

The Ethiopian refugee population of about 2,000 was all that remained of nearly 40,000 Ethiopians who fled to Djibouti years earlier to escape civil war; most repatriated during 1994-96 after the civil war ended.

In May, many of the remaining pre-1991 Ethiopian refugees living in Djibouti repatriated, in UNHCR-chartered trains. Djibouti became the first country to complete the repatriation of Ethiopia refugees after UNHCR announced in mid-2000 the end of automatic refugee status for Ethiopians who fled prior to 1991.

In December, a roundup by army and police in the capital, Djiboutiville, resulted in the arrest of some 5,000 "mostly Ethiopian illegal immigrants," the majority of whom were summarily deported, according to a government statement. It was not known whether any of the deportees were asylum seekers or whether they were given an opportunity to lodge asylum claims.

Some 1,000 Eritreans arrived in northeast Djibouti's Obock camp during the year, where they received medical care from UNICEF. UNHCR did not consider the Eritreans to be refugees, however.

Djiboutian Refugees

An armed insurgency in the early 1990s uprooted more than 100,000 Djiboutians. A 1994 peace agreement enabled most to return home.

In 1999, Djibouti's presidential elections reinforced the country's progress toward peace. The majority of Djiboutian refugees had repatriated, but 1,000 remained outside the country in 2000.

Search Refworld