Refugees Still At Risk

Continuing Refugee Protection Concerns in Guinea

Hundreds of thousands of Sierra Leonean and Liberian refugees along Guinea's border were relocated from the embattled border area in early 2001 to camps in the interior of the country. While the organized movement from the border is a welcome and long overdue step, the long-term safety of the refugees is still under threat. The refugees are generally faced with the difficult choice of remaining in Guinea, or returning to Sierra Leone or Liberia, where serious threats to their safety persist. Some refugees say they are being asked to choose whether to die in Guinea or at home. If they stay in Guinea, refugees fear a repeat of last year's outbreak of harassment and violence at the hands of Guineans who blame them for the violence at the border. If they return home, they face an uncertain future, since both Sierra Leone and Liberia remain in a fragile balance between war and peace. Either choice raises serious protection concerns for the long-term safety of the refugees.