Last Updated: Friday, 19 January 2018, 17:46 GMT

U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 1998 - Mozambique

Publisher United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants
Publication Date 1 January 1998
Cite as United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 1998 - Mozambique, 1 January 1998, available at: [accessed 20 January 2018]
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.


For the first time in many years, Mozambique was producing no significant number of recognized refugees and had no internally displaced persons at the end of 1996.

UNHCR invoked the "cessation clause" for Mozambican refugees worldwide on December 31, 1996. UNHCR's action was based on the agency's assessment that circumstances that originally forced refugees to flee Mozambique had ceased to exist, due to fundamental changes in Mozambique.

Sixteen years of civil war in Mozambique left up to one million Mozambicans dead and uprooted at least 5.7 million of the country's 16 million population by 1992. The country's first-ever multiparty democratic elections in 1994 consolidated the country's long-awaited transition to peace.

From 1993 to 1995, 1.7 million Mozambican refugees repatriated from six countries, and three million internally displaced people returned home.

At the start of 1996, nearly 600,000 Mozambicans remained uprooted: 90,000 in South Africa, 5,000 in Tanzania, some 2,000 in Malawi, and approximately 500,000 within the country.

UNHCR completed its three-year repatriation program for Mozambican refugees on July 24, 1996. UNHCR closed most of its 20 field offices throughout the country by the end of the year and handed over more than 1,500 development and reintegration projects worth $80 million to the Mozambican government. The repatriation and reintegration program cost UNHCR some $145 million to implement, more than $100 million of which was devoted to activities within Mozambique.

The 100,000 or so Mozambicans who remained in South Africa, Zambia, and Tanzania at the end of 1996 were there "for economic rather than security reasons," UNHCR stated.

Repatriation and Reintegration

Overall, the repatriation process reportedly encountered few serious problems for such a large-scale operation. Landmines continued to be a major obstacle to reintegration, but the number of landmines appeared to be much lower than previously thought. The UN lowered its estimate of the number of remaining landmines from two million to about 100,000 during the year.

The food shortages experienced in 1995 diminished in 1996 as the harvest reportedly improved by 23 percent. Some vulnerable populations had difficulty gaining access to food, however. MÉdecins Sans FrontiÈres reported, "Regardless of expanded production, significant restraints on food security remain, and these constraints will only be removed through efficient and equitable growth of the national economy as a whole."

In the climate of Mozambique's depressed economy, acts of banditry were reported in 1996, resulting in instances of short-term population displacement, violence, and sometimes death. A group of rebel "Chimwenjes" from Zimbabwe, reportedly joined by former Renamo guerrillas, harassed the population in parts of the country. The group reportedly attacked civilians in Susundenga district in western Mozambique's Manica province in February, causing people to flee to the district capital. Similar attacks occurred in July in Mossurize district in the center of the country, bordering Zimbabwe.

UN agencies and the U.S. Department of State reported that the vast majority of internally displaced persons who wanted to return home had done so by year's end. Other formerly uprooted people apparently chose to resettle elsewhere in the country, leaving virtually no Mozambicans who could be classified as uprooted at the end of 1996.

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