U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 2004 - Gambia
|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 - Gambia , 25 May 2004, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/40b4593a10.html [accessed 23 March 2017]|
|Disclaimer||This 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.|
Gambia hosted more than 10,000 refugees and asylum seekers at the end of 2003, including more than 6,000 from Sierra Leone and some 4,000 from Senegal. More than 100 refugees from Sierra Leone repatriated during the year.
Refugees from Sierra Leone
Civil war in Sierra Leone pushed about 10,000 refugees into Gambia during the 1990s. Some repatriated during 2001 – 2002 as peace returned to Sierra Leone. Almost all of the 6,000 remaining Sierra Leoneans lived in urban areas.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) opened an office in Banjul in March 2003 and maintained a camp for 41 Sierra Leonean refugees in the eastern town of Basse, Upper River Division. Urban refugees received medical, educational, and income-generation assistance. Camp-based refugees received limited food rations and non-food items. UNHCR also provided Sierra Leonean refugees with medical, educational, and income-generation assistance, including poultry and community bakery projects.
In June, Gambian authorities issued identity cards to Sierra Leoneans, allowing the refugees to freely move about the country for the first time.
Some 140 Sierra Leonean refugees repatriated with UNHCR assistance in 2003, including air transportation, a four-month food ration, a cash allowance, and basic necessities, including soap, blankets, lamps, and cooking utensils.
Refugees from Senegal
Waves of Senegalese escaping violence linked to a guerrilla insurgency in the Casamance region of southern Senegal have fled to Gambia during the past decade. No new Senegalese refugees arrived in Gambia in 2003.
An estimated 4,000 undocumented Senegalese refugees remained in Gambia at year's end. More than 200 officially recognized Senegalese refugees lived in UNHCR-administered Bambali camp in central Gambia, where they received limited assistance. Senegalese authorities continued to pressure Gambian officials to expel the refugees, blaming them in Gambia for supporting the insurgency. Despite pressure to leave Gambia, refugees remained hesitant to repatriate without a durable peace in the Casamance.