Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 July 2016, 13:47 GMT

U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 2004 - Gabon

Publisher United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants
Publication Date 25 May 2004
Cite as United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 2004 - Gabon , 25 May 2004, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/40b4593ac.html [accessed 27 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.

Gabon hosted more than 19,000 refugees and asylum seekers at the end of 2003, including some 14,000 from Congo-Brazzaville, more than 1,000 from Chad, and 4,000 from various other countries.

More than 800 Congolese refugees voluntarily repatriated from Gabon during the year.

Gabon authorities approved fewer than 100 of 600 Congolese refugees' asylum applications in 2003. Some 100 refugees in Gabon permanently resettled in Canada and Europe during 2003 as part of a formal resettlement process administered by UNHCR, other agencies, and foreign governments.

Refugees from Congo-Brazzaville

Most Congolese refugees fled to Gabon in 1999 to escape civil war in Congo-Brazzaville. About 90 percent of the Congolese refugee population lived in three southern provinces along Gabon's border with Congo-Brazzaville, primarily in urban areas.

Most refugees remained reluctant to return home to Congo-Brazzaville because of continued poor security and sporadic violence between rebel militias and government forces. Fewer than 1,000 refugees voluntarily repatriated from Gabon during 2003, far short of the 1,500 repatriations expected by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). UNHCR provided repatriating refugees air transportation, medical care, and a stipend of $80 per person. The majority of refugees from Congo-Brazzaville remained in Gabon during the year despite UNHCR's efforts to promote repatriation.

The withdrawal of the World Food Programme (WFP) in 2002 left Congolese refugees without food aid in 2003. UNHCR continued to provide refugees with basic health care, schooling, and loans for small business and agriculture ventures. UNHCR constructed three schools in southern Nyanga Province in 2003, increasing the enrollment of school-aged refugee children. But UNHCR's reduced staff capacity and budget in 2003 limited its ability to assist refugees, especially those suffering from HIV/AIDS.

The lack of valid identification papers hindered some refugees' freedom of movement and led to harassment, extortion, and detentions by Gabonese police and military, according to a U.S. government report.

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