Last Updated: Thursday, 14 December 2017, 13:52 GMT

U.S. Committee for Refugees Mid-Year Country Report 2001 - Zambia

Publisher United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants
Publication Date 1 July 2001
Cite as United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, U.S. Committee for Refugees Mid-Year Country Report 2001 - Zambia , 1 July 2001, available at: [accessed 15 December 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.


Zambia does not produce significant numbers of refugees. Zambia has long hosted refugees from neighboring Angola. Increased numbers of refugees from Congo-Kinshasa have also fled to Zambia in recent years.

At the start of 2001, Zambia hosted more than 250,000 refugees, including approximately 190,000 from Angola and up to 60,000 from Congo-Kinshasa.

Recent Political/Military/Human Rights Developments

During the first six months of 2001, Zambia remained a stable refugee-hosting country despite continuing conflicts in Angola and Congo-Kinshasa. Zambian officials stationed troops along the country's western border with Angola to prevent the spread of violence into Zambia and to monitor the flow of Angolan refugees. Zambian authorities held discussions with Angola and Namibia to strengthen border security in the region. The Zambian government also attempted to resolve a dispute with the government of Angola regarding alleged Zambian support for Angolan rebels and alleged cross-border attacks into Zambia by Angolan forces.

New Uprooted Populations

Warfare in Angola and Congo-Kinshasa at the end of 2000 raised concerns in Zambia about another potential massive refugee influx in early 2001. The first two months of the year saw no significant new refugee flows into Zambia. During March to July, about 1,000 new Angolan refugees fled to northern Zambia to escape their country's war. In April, an estimated 500 refugees entered Zambia from Congo-Kinshasa.

In response to continuing violence in Angola and concern about Angolan rebel supporters in Zambia's border area, officials indicated that they would eventually transfer some 12,000 Angolan refugees from Nangweshi camp, located in the Zambia-Angola border region, to a new camp about 180 miles (300 km) west of the Zambian capital, Lusaka. Authorities have reactivated Ukwimi camp to accommodate ex-Angolan combatants and their families, bringing the total number of official refugee camps in Zambia to six.

In January 2001, three-quarters of the 4,000 combatants in the Congo-Kinshasa war who had sought refuge in Zambia in late 2000 returned to Congo-Kinshasa before they could be screened by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda to ascertain whether the combatants included perpetrators of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

In April, some 2,000 Congolese refugees left Mwange camp in northern Zambia and returned to Congo-Kinshasa because of food shortages in the camp.

Humanitarian Conditions

Food shortages threatened the refugee population in Zambia throughout the first six months of 2001. The World Food Program (WFP) reported that food donations were 40 percent less than the refugee population needed. WFP came perilously close to exhausting its food supply in April. Food shortages triggered riots among Congolese refugees at Kala camp in northern Zambia. Many refugees reportedly raided local farms and engaged in poaching to feed themselves. Heavy rains and flooding caused deterioration of roads and bridges, hampering deliveries of relief supplies to refugee populations. Refugee camps suffered outbreaks of malaria.

The Zambian government continued to appeal for more international aid to assist the refugee population. In July, the government stated that it faced a large domestic food shortage caused by recent flooding and a poor maize harvest.

A Zambian police report investigating an increase in armed crime charged in July that armed refugees were selling their weapons to local citizens. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) commended Zambia for hosting large numbers of refugees and urged Zambian officials to remain generous. The Zambian government was considering offering citizenship to refugees who have lived in Zambia for 30 years.

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