Guinea currently hosts 4,000 refugees, mostly from Cote d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone and Liberia, a source from the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) said Monday during celebrations to mark the World Refugee Day in Conakry.
Majority of the concerned refugees wish to be resettled in rich countries and do not wish to return to their home countries.
Speaking during the ceremony, UNHCR representative in Guinea Mahamadou Toure said the refugees are faced with three options; repatriation, local integration or resettlement in a third country.
According to Toure, majority of refugees from Liberia and Sierra Leone opted for the second option of local integration. This has helped them to enjoy the same rights as Guinean citizens, such as “freedom of movement, access to education, access to the labour market as well as being issued with valid identity and travel documents.”
Regarding the option of being resettled in a third country, he said this is only possible if there is a request.
“It is through the request that UNHCR can organize these operations, which so far have enabled hundreds of refugees living in camps in southeast Guinea to be resettled in the U.S., Hollande and Australia,” Toure said.
It should be recalled that in 1990s, Guinea hosted close to a million refugees following an outbreak of ethnic clashes in Liberia and Sierra Leone. The number of refugees grew after violence broke out in Cote d’Ivoire in early 2000.