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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
07ABIDJAN187 2007-02-21 17:05:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Abidjan
Cable title:  

TFGV01: UNHCR CONFIRMS REFUGEES IN GUINEA CAMPS

Tags:   PREF PHUM PREL USAID GV LI CI 
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VZCZCXRO3511
RR RUEHPA
DE RUEHAB #0187/01 0521705
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 211705Z FEB 07
FM AMEMBASSY ABIDJAN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2612
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0537
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ABIDJAN 000187 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR AF/W AND PRM/AFR/CACHANG
GENEVA FOR RMA
DAKAR FOR USAID/OFDA/RDAVIS
DEPT PASS TO USAID/OFDA/DDEBERNARDO

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/20/2017
TAGS: PREF PHUM PREL USAID GV LI CI
SUBJECT: TFGV01: UNHCR CONFIRMS REFUGEES IN GUINEA CAMPS
ARE SAFE FOR NOW

REF: ABIDJAN 157

Classified By: NICK HILGERT FOR REASONS 1.4 A AND B.



1. (SBU) Prior to the current crisis in Guinea, UNHCR had
predicted that large-scale population displacements would not
result from civil disturbances in Guinea. However, the
dynamics of the crisis have UNHCR officials on edge and they
remain vigilant should the situation change. UNHCR offices
in Cote d'Ivoire, Liberia, and Sierra Leone reported the
following:

- No large-scale population movements into neighboring
countries have been reported;
- UNHCR visited the Laine and Kouankan refugee camps in the
Guinea Forest region and reports that refugees in these camps
have not been affected by the recent demonstrations;
- Approximately 500 refugees have registered to return to
Liberia, but UNHCR reports the number of refugees who
registered as a result of recent events is limited. The
majority of refugees, according to UNHCR field staff, still
prefer to remain where they are. The next return convoy is
scheduled for February 21;
- None of the Ivoirian refugees (Kouankan II Camp) have
requested assistance to return to Cote d'Ivoire;
- Some refugees have requested to be relocated to Mali;
- UNHCR is reporting that some 20 prisoners in Nzerekore may
have died as a result of mistreatment following their
transfer to a military camp during the demonstrations. UNHCR
is investigating to determine if any refugees being held in
the prison are among the victims;
- UNHCR Freetown has a working contingency plan to assist up
to a possible 20,000 refugees in Sierra Leone and identified
key areas of possible access in Kambia, Kailahun, Koinadugu,
and Kono.



2. (U) Copies of the contingency plans for Liberia and
Sierra Leone have been forwarded to PRM/AFR as well as the
UNHCR mission reports to Laine and Kouankan Camps.

Guinean Authorities Seek Refuge in Laine Camp


--------------------------





3. (C) During the UNHCR mission to Laine Camp, refugees
stated that several Guineans, including the local Commandant
of the Gendarmerie and the Assistant to the Sous-Prefect of
Laine village, sought refuge in Laine Camp at the height of
the demonstrations and violence. The refugees allowed them
to spend the night in the camp, but these persons have not
returned since February 14.

Inter-Agency Mission to Guinea-Cote d'Ivoire Border


--------------------------



--------------------------





4. (SBU) An official with the International Rescue Committee
(IRC) in Cote d'Ivoire reported that the week-long
interagency mission to the Cote d'Ivoire-Guinea border has
concluded its mission and is preparing a final report with
their recommendations for follow-up. The border area with
Guinea is currently under control of the rebel Forces
Nouvelles (FN). The mission met with FN leaders, local
authorities, traditional leaders, and humanitarian partners
working in this region. The mission confirmed that the
border is closed on the Guinea side, that there is no
evidence of any large-scale population movement into Cote
d'Ivoire, and that commercial activity between villages on
both sides of the border has been disrupted. FN leaders
expressed their willingness to work with the international
community should refugees enter this part of Cote d'Ivoire
and that they would not force them back into Guinea. (Note:
it is not clear how many, if any, persons tried to cross the
border but were stopped by the Guinean authorities. End
note.) The UN is organizing a Heads of Agency Mission to
Odienne on February 23-24 to receive the report and finalize
a contingency plan for Cote d'Ivoire. An Embassy official
will participate.

ARC Reports Security Incidents in Lofa County


--------------------------





5. (SBU) Paula Nawrocki, Country Director for the American
Refugee Committee (ARC) in Liberia, reported that their
office compound in Voinjama (upper Lofa County) was attacked
during the night of February 11. According to Nawrocki,
several robbers, reportedly carrying automatic weapons,

ABIDJAN 00000187 002 OF 002


followed two ARC staff members back to their compound after
they returned from dinner. After entering the compound, they
stole 2 laptop computers, 3 cameras, cell phones, keys to
cars and motorcycles, and one vehicle. Nawrocki said they
had learned the vehicle's window was shot as it ran the
border checkpoint and has since been spotted in Macenta
(Guinea). (Note: these items are mostly funded out of a PRM
grant for ARC's activities in Lofa County. End note.)
Nawrocki said a full police report would be provided to
UNMIL. Other PRM-funded NGOs in Lofa County (IMC, IRC, CVT)
reported that their compounds were not targeted during this
time period.

Comment


--------------------------





6. (SBU) The recent violence in Guinea unfolded as UNHCR
Representatives in the region participated in a joint meeting
in Dakar to discuss progress in the Liberian repatriation
effort. Representatives agreed during the meeting to hold to
the June 2007 deadline for repatriation, although UNHCR Ghana
is still pushing to extend the deadline. They also agreed to
move forward on local integration efforts in all host
countries. Recently, UNHCR Guinea has used the announcement
of local integration after June 2007 as an effective tool in
promoting continued repatriation. This provided refugees in
Guinea with a clear benchmark against which to make a
decision as to whether or not they wished to return to
Liberia or remain in Guinea as their durable solution.
However, the current situation in Guinea could disrupt this
effort, and the longer it continues, the less credible an
alternative local integration might appear to the refugees.
Fortunately, the refugees do not seem to have been caught up
in recent events or threatened in any way. RefCoord will
monitor closely UNHCR's course of action in the coming weeks.
Hooks