Mali hosted some 4,000 refugees and asylum seekers at the end of 2002, primarily from Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Côte d'Ivoire. About 5,000 people from Mauritania lived in Mali in refugee-like circumstances.
Nearly 3,000 Malians were asylum applicants in Europe and other industrialized countries during 2002. About 4,000 Malians continued to live in Mauritania in refugee-like circumstances.
Summary Mauritanians in southwestern Mali's Kayes region were locally integrated and largely supported themselves without assistance.
They were unlikely to return home, but technically had no legal right to remain in Mali, prompting the U.S. Committee for Refugees (USCR) to classify them as refugee-like without counting them as refugees.
Similarly, Malians who originally fled to Mauritania in the early 1990s because of Mali's armed insurgency appeared to be permanently settled in Mauritania despite peace in Mali since the mid-1990s.
Therefore, USCR classifies them as refugee-like, but does not count them as refugees.
Having closed its office in Mali in 2001, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees monitored the country's refugee and refugee-like populations from the agency's Senegal office during 2002.