Last Updated: Friday, 20 October 2017, 11:43 GMT

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

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 - Mali , 25 May 2004, available at: [accessed 21 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.

Mali hosted some 7,000 refugees and asylum seekers at the end of 2003, including nearly 3,000 from Côte d'Ivoire and about 2,000 from Sierra Leone and Liberia.

More than 6,000 people from Mauritania lived in Mali in refugee-like circumstances. Mali received about 1,000 new refugees and asylum seekers during the year.

An estimated 50,000 Malians repatriated in 2003, escaping conflict and xenophobia in neighboring Côte d'Ivoire.

About 4,000 Malians continued to live in Mauritania in refugee-like circumstances.

Malian Returnees

Armed conflict following a September 2002 army mutiny in Côte d'Ivoire caused widespread displacement. Warring factions signed peace accords in 2003, but sporadic fighting and hostility against foreigners caused thousands of Malians, primarily migrant workers, to flee of during the year. More than 50,000 Malians in Côte d'Ivoire returned to Mali in 2003, half returning by foot with little or no assistance. The Malian government temporary received returnees in Zégoua near the Mali-Côte d'Ivoire border, but soon opened Loulouni camp and Faragouaran transit center further inland and away from the volatile border area in the southwestern Sikasso region of Mali.

Returnees also flooded into Kadiana and Manankoro villages. The Malian Red Cross provided returnee families with rice, cooking oil, sugar, soap, mosquito nets, and sleeping mats. Food rations were not sufficient to meet the large returnee demand in Faragouaran and Loulouni camps, which returnees quickly abandoned. Harsh camp conditions, including poor sanitation, rudimentary medical care, little potable water, and intense heat affected refugee health in Loulouni camp, where many refugees suffered from malaria and respiratory diseases, according to the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC).

International humanitarian organizations assisted urban Malian returnees in a soccer stadium in Bamako, the capital, which lacked sufficient latrines and shelter. The IFRC reported that they found them exhausted and traumatized. While no international or governmental agencies conducted a census of internally displaced Malians, the U.S. Committee for Refugees (USCR) estimates that as many as 10,000 Malians remained internally displaced at year's end.

Refugees from Sierra Leone

More than 1,000 refugees and asylum seekers from Sierra Leone remained in Mali at year's end. Some lived in Faragouaran transit center, among displaced Malians, but most resided in Bamako, where they received little assistance. About 50 voluntarily repatriated during the year, receiving transportation assistance and a cash grant from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Other Populations

Some 6,000 Mauritanians in southwestern Mali's Kayes region were mostly locally integrated and largely supported themselves. They were unlikely to return home, but technically had no legal right to remain in Mali, prompting the USCR to classify them as refugee-like. Some 4,000 remaining Malians who originally fled to Mauritania in the early 1990s because of Mali's armed insurgency remained in Mauritania despite peace in Mali since the mid-1990s. Therefore, USCR classifies them as refugee-like. Having closed its office in Mali in 2001, UNHCR monitored the country's refugee populations from the agency's Senegal office during 2003.

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