Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 December 2017, 12:58 GMT

U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 2002 - Djibouti

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 - Djibouti , 10 June 2002, available at: [accessed 13 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 22,000 refugees lived in Djibouti at year's end, including some 20,000 from Somalia and more than 2,000 from Ethiopia.

Refugees from Somalia and Ethiopia

Most Somali refugees in Djibouti arrived during 1988-90 as a result of civil war in Somalia. The majority of those who remained in Djibouti at the end of 2001 were originally from northern Somalia, the self-declared independent territory of "Somaliland." Most resided in two camps near Djibouti's borders with Somalia and Ethiopia. Nearly 12,000 lived in Ali Adde camp, and some 10,000 in Holl Holl camp.

Despite traditionally difficult living conditions in the Ali Adde and Holl Holl camps and an expressed interest in returning home, few Somali refugees registered for voluntary repatriation with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) during 2001. The Djibouti-Somaliland border reopened in early November after an eight-month closure caused by political tensions between authorities in Djibouti and Somaliland, but no refugees repatriated to northern Somalia during the last two months of 2001.

"It appears that refugees are afraid that, in their absence, they may have lost their land," a UNHCR report noted. UNHCR continued to administer reforestation and fuel-efficient mud-stove projects to limit environmental degradation in and around Ali Adde and Holl Holl camps.

In January, several hundred southern Somali refugees repatriated from northeastern Djibouti's Obock camp to Mogadishu, Somalia in UNHCR-chartered planes. UNHCR transferred the remaining Somali refugees to Ali Adde and Holl Holl and closed Obock refugee camp.

More than 2,000 Ethiopian refugees lived in Djibouti at year's end. The approximately 1,000 who lived in UNHCR-administered camps were the only ones remaining 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.

During early 2001, Djibouti authorities allowed into the country approximately 100 Ethiopian university students who had fled violent clashes with Ethiopian security forces in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital. Although they lived under the care of UNHCR in Ali Adde camp, the Djibouti government's Organization of National Affairs for Refugees denied the students refugee status.

Djiboutian Refugees

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

In November 2001, UNHCR and Ethiopian government authorities assisted with the voluntary repatriation of the final 500 ethnic Afar Djiboutian refugees from northeastern Ethiopia to their places of origin in Djibouti.

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