Last Updated: Friday, 17 November 2017, 15:16 GMT

U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 2003 - Mozambique

Publisher United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants
Publication Date 1 June 2003
Cite as United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 2003 - Mozambique , 1 June 2003, available at: [accessed 20 November 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.

Mozambique hosted about 7,000 refugees and asylum seekers at the end of 2002, including some 4,000 from Congo-Kinshasa, about 2,000 from Rwanda, and some 1,000 from Burundi. More than 1,000 new asylum seekers arrived during the year.

Refugee Influx and Assistance

The refugee population in Mozambique has tripled during the past two years because of war in Congo-Kinshasa and Burundi, as well as a spontaneous decision by many Rwandan refugees to move to Mozambique from camps in Tanzania where officials were pressuring them to go home.

About half of the refugees and asylum seekers lived in or near the Mozambican capital, Maputo, where they received little or no humanitarian assistance.

Although government officials placed restrictions on urban refugees' property rights, employment, freedom of movement, and access to education, many refugees and asylum seekers – particularly young males – chose to remain in the Maputo area where they evaded employment restrictions and, in some cases, sought entry into neighboring South Africa.

Officials continued efforts to encourage 1,000 refugees living in overcrowded Bobole camp on the outskirts of Maputo to transfer to a relatively new camp in northern Mozambique's Nampula Province.

Some 500 refugees in the Maputo area registered for relocation to the new camp, Maratane, and the International Organization for Migration began to transfer refugees in December. Authorities planned to close Bobole, but it remained open at the end of 2002.

The Mozambican government continued to insist that only refugees living in Maratane camp should receive full humanitarian assistance. The camp's 2,000 residents received food, shelter, health care, water, schooling, language training, and other social service programs. Officials made more than 7,000 acres (about 3,000 hectares) near the camp available for farming.

Local government authorities complained that the UN High Commissioner for Refugees was expanding the infrastructure of Maratane camp too slowly to accommodate the camp's growing population.

Adequate supplies of drinking water were a particular concern.

Ethnic tensions among Congolese refugees triggered violence at Maratane camp in September, resulting in the arrest of some refugees. Local officials warned that tensions could peak again if services at the camp fail to keep pace with new refugee arrivals.

The government's Refugee Eligibility Committee conducted four meetings during the year, but failed to pass judgment on any asylum claims among the more than 6,000 claims backlogged in the government's asylum system.

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