Repatriation to Guinea-Bissau from Senegal

Briefing Notes, 23 July 1999

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Kris Janowski to whom quoted text may be attributed at the press briefing, on 23 July 1999, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

The repatriation of Guinea-Bissau refugees from the camp in Thiès, Senegal, was completed Thursday, 22 July, with a fourth rotation by the UNHCR-chartered Djon Dade between Dakar to Bissau with 153 people on board. The Djon Dade left Dakar harbour at 1500 GMT and is expected in Bissau this afternoon at the same time.

In all, 629 refugees from the civil war that started in 1998 have been repatriated from Senegal. Around 700 were sheltered in Thiès, 70 km east of Dakar, and these facilities have now been handed over to local officials. All the returnees were given food aid by the Government of Senegal as well as a cash grant from UNHCR for onward travel.

An estimated 600 Guinea-Bissau refugees are still living by their own means in Dakar, and 100 of these have also come forward to register for voluntary repatriation. UNHCR plans a last rotation by sea on Monday, 26 July.

UNHCR cares for another 3,000 Guinea-Bissau refugees in Guinea Conakry (1,800), Gambia (720) and Cape Verde (600). Voluntary repatriation operations are planned from the last two countries in the coming weeks.