Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 October 2017, 16:02 GMT

U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants World Refugee Survey 2005 - Guinea

Publisher United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants
Publication Date 20 June 2005
Cite as United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants World Refugee Survey 2005 - Guinea , 20 June 2005, available at: [accessed 17 October 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.

Refoulement/Asylum  There were no reported incidents of refoulement. The Government, however, refused entry to over 200 Liberian refugees repatriating overland from Ghana, leaving them stranded on the Mali-Guinea border for several weeks. In April, UN planes flew the refugees from the Malian capital Bamako to Monrovia.

The Constitution granted asylum to those persecuted on account of political, philosophical, or religious opinion; race or ethnicity; or intellectual, scientific, or cultural activities. The Government recognized most refugees on a prima facie basis. A 2000 protocol between the Government and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) authorized the creation of a National Eligibility Committee (NEC) to conduct refugee status determinations. The Government regularly notified UNHCR of scheduled hearings so that it could observe. While it had nationwide authority, the NEC functioned only in Conakry.

Detention  There were no reports that the Government detained refugees for exercising their rights. The national police and army, however, committed serious human rights violations, detaining and using excessive force on both citizens and refugees. The judicial system lacked resources and was subject to political influence.

Refugees granted status by the NEC received identification cards bearing their photograph. Those registered in the camps received ration cards.

Right to Earn a Livelihood   The Guinean Refugee Law of 2000 granted refugees the right to work. There were few jobs in the formal sector, however, and refugees generally farmed or ran small businesses, such as selling cigarettes, bread, or snacks at street stalls. The World Food Programme reported that about half of the refugees in Nzerekore and Kissidougou camps farmed and that their production stabilized food security during the year. Many refugees worked for nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in camps, but UNHCR restricted their earnings to comply with the Government's policy that refugees should eventually repatriate rather than become economically independent. UNHCR also justified pay restrictions because refugees received rations and services. Some refugees sold rations and ration cards in local markets and across the border in Liberia. Many Liberian refugee women and girls resorted to prostitution as a means of supplementing their incomes. A UNICEF study reported that 3.5 percent of the total population in Nzerekore survived on sex work.

Freedom of Movement and Residence  The Government did not require refugees to live in certain areas, but aid agencies only provided assistance in camps. About 85,000 refugees resided in Nzerekore and Kissidougou camps and the surrounding regions. About 10,000 lived in urban areas, of which 6,000 lived in Conakry. In 2003, after a violent incident in Conakry involving refugees, the Government decided to relocate all urban refugees to rural camps. In 2004, after UNHCR intervened, the Government reversed its decision.

The Constitution protected the right of all persons to freedom of movement. The law did not require refugees to obtain permission to travel, but corrupt or misinformed local authorities sometimes demanded bribes or documentation. UNHCR and camp authorities provided free, onetime travel documents for refugees who wanted them. For travel abroad, UNHCR, in collaboration with the Government, issued ten international travel documents to refugees from November 2004 to January 2005.

Public Relief and Education  Nearly 27,000 refugee children and 1,200 Guinean nationals attended refugee camp schools. Refugee children who could understand French enrolled in Guinean schools in their host communities without any restrictions. Many refugees received scholarships to attend secondary schools or vocational programs in Conakry. Most refugees had access to camp-based health services. The severe malnutrition rate in the camps was only 0.1 percent as compared to 10 percent among the Guinean population. Aid agencies eliminated water-borne diseases in refugee camps by constructing sanitation facilities, improving water services, and distributing water containers and soap. Incidence of malaria, however, increased in camp regions.

Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)  In 2001 and 2002, war in Sierra Leone and Liberia displaced tens of thousands of Guineans when conflict spilled into Guinea. Although the security situation in the border areas improved in 2004, ex-combatants from Sierra Leone and Liberia continued to enter Guinea to sell small arms, extort money, and incite ethnic violence. At least two people died in June as a result of fighting between the Guerze and Mandingo ethnic groups in Nzerekore. In 2002, the Government humanitarian agency, SENAH, and the UN Population Fund counted 82,000 IDPs. In 2004, no agency conducted a complete count of IDPs, although SENAH estimated about 40,000 returned home by year's end.

Many IDPs settled in local host communities whose land, water, and other public resources were already strained. The Global IDP Project reported that UN agencies provided too little assistance to IDPs, noting that the 2004 UN Consolidated Appeals Process received specific funding neither for IDPs nor for the communities hosting them.

Other Developments  Over 12,000 refugees returned to Sierra Leone. In April, the Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding and announced that it would provide about 1,800 Sierra Leonians still in the camps with integration assistance and grant them citizenship or permanent residence. UNHCR also began repatriating Liberian refugees in October, though it suspended activities in November after a riot killed 16 people in Monrovia. As of February 2005, about 75,000 to 90,000 refugees, some unregistered, had returned to Liberia. At Lainé camp, however, 8,000 refugees refused to repatriate, stating that conditions were still not safe.

Copyright 2005, U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants

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