U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants World Refugee Survey 2006 - Guinea



Refoulement/Physical Protection

Twice, the Government reportedly returned non-Guinean ex-combatants without permitting them to apply for asylum. The U.S. State Department reported that "in practice the government did not always provide protection against refoulement ... and did not always grant refugee status or asylum" and that about 1,300 Sierra Leonean refugees in camps and 4,000 in urban areas lacked documentation necessary to assure their right to stay.

Article 11 of the Constitution provided for asylum for persons persecuted on the basis of political, philosophical, or religious opinion; race or ethnicity; or intellectual, scientific or cultural activities.

More than 18,000 refugees returned to Liberia in the lead-up to the October elections, leaving 59,000 Liberian refugees in camps. Some 3,500 Ivorian and 2,000 Sierra Leonean refugees resided in N'zerekore and Boreah camps, respectively. The National Bureau for Refugee Coordination (BNCR) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) conducted refugee status determinations (RSDs) on both individual and group bases.

During the year, refugee women reported more than 20 cases of rape, more than 20 cases of sexual assault or attempted rape, and more than 130 cases of domestic violence.

Detention/Access to Courts

There were no reports that the Government arbitrarily detained refugees in 2005. The Government entered a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with UNHCR in 2000, affording refugees the right to identity documents. UNHCR and the BNCR issued identity documents to refugees in the RSD process.

Freedom of Movement and Residence

The Government granted refugees freedom of movement within the Guinean territory under Article 22 of the Constitution. Following the attempted assassination of President Lansana Conté in January, the Government reinstalled roadblocks until April. Soldiers had previously used these posts to extort bribes from refugees and citizens alike.

Right to Earn a Livelihood

Refugees in Guinea generally worked in the informal sector or for nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). As residents of the Economic Community of West African States, refugees from Liberia, Côte d'Ivoire, and Sierra Leone had the right to work legally, although this was not observed in practice. The Government required refugees to obtain work permits, but refugees most often worked as housekeepers or in other menial jobs without official permission.

Under the MOU between the Government and UNHCR, refugees could legally work for NGOs as temporary workers – typically with six-month contracts.

Public Relief and Education

UNHCR provided education, food rations, health services, water, and sanitation services to camp-based refugees. Access to these services and amenities was better inside camps than elsewhere. The World Health Organization reported that 30 percent of consultations at camp-based health posts were with villagers living outside the camps. Moderate malnutrition inside refugee camps declined to 0.9 percent and there was no severe malnutrition.

UNHCR and NGOs stopped providing food and education assistance to Sierra Leonean refugees living in Boreah camp by October, but continued to provide weekly health visits. The Government agreed to allow local integration of these refugees and UNHCR facilitated this by providing income-generating projects and agricultural start-up kits. Refugees from Boreah Camp did not have legal status.


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