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Cablegate: Plight of Third Country Nationals in Western Cote

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS ROME 004435

SIPDIS


AIDAC

FROM U.S. MISSION IN ROME

ABIDJAN FOR REFUGEE COORDINATOR
DAKAR FOR USAID
GENEVA FOR RMA AND NKYLOH
CONAKRY FOR POL; USAID FOR AADAMS, RBONCEY, DATTEBERRY
FREETOWN FOR POL; USAID FOR JKOENEN-GRANT
MONROVIA FOR USAID/DART
NAIROBI FOR OFDA/ARO
EUCOM FOR POLA/J3/J4/J5
BRUSSELS FOR USAID PLERNER
STATE FOR PRM, AF, IO
NSC FOR JDWORKEN
USAID FOR USAID/A, DCHA/AA, DCHA/FFP
USAID FOR DCHA/OTI, DCHA/DG, AFR/AA, AFR/WA
USAID FOR DCHA/OFDA BMCCONNELL, JBORNS, SKHANDAGLE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PREF IZ LI PHUM WFP
SUBJECT: PLIGHT OF THIRD COUNTRY NATIONALS IN WESTERN COTE
D'IVOIRE

-------
SUMMARY
-------

1. Nicla transit camp is currently home to 5,500-6,300
third country nationals (TCNs), most of whom are Burkinabe.
The protection of the TCNs in the camp is a concern. The
Vice-Chairman of the National Assembly recently visited
Guiglo and talked with the local populations in an effort
to ease tensions. This was the second visit to Guiglo from
officials in Abidjan in six weeks' time. See para 19 for
recommendations. End Summary.

------------
BACKGROUND
------------

2. Special Assistant to Ambassador Tony Hall, Max Finberg,
and Senior Emergency Coordinator (SEC) R. Davis in the U.S.
Mission/Rome visited Cote d'Ivoire September 3-9. The team
traveled to the western areas of Guiglo and Tabou with the
U.N. World Food Program (WFP) staff September 4-6. Shane
Hough, from State/PRM, also joined the travel. The purpose
of the trip was to gain a better understanding of tQ food
security situation in the country and its nutritional
impact on the population.

3. This report discusses issues surrounding the TCNs only.
Food security and general humanitarian issues are covered
in a second report.

--------------------
NICLA TRANSIT CAMP
--------------------

4. Nicla transit camp was constructed as a transit
facility for Nicla refugee camp several years ago. Its
original capacity was for 1,500, however it now holds
between 5,500 and 6,300 TCNs, the vast majority of whom are
Burkinabe that were chased out of villages west of Guiglo,
including Blolekin and Toulepleu. Some Malians and
Ivoirians are also in the transit camp. Solidarites
reports that there are about 100 new arrivals every two
days. (Note: Solidarites oversees the registration in the
camp and reports 6,300 in the camp. The Crisis Committee
reports 6,664, and the International Committee of the Red
Cross (ICRC), that just distributed blankets in the camp,
reports 4,400. However, ICRC did not give blankets to
those who already had them. The Crisis Committee has
agreed to conduct a new census to verify the population
numbers. End Note.)

5. Until recently, the transit camp had served as a
transit point for repatriations of TCNs under the auspices
of the International Organization of Migration (IOM). Due
to a lack of continued funding, however, the last convoyON IN ROME

ABIDJAN FOR REFUGEE COORDINATOR
DAKAR FOR USAID
GENEVA FOR RMA AND NKYLOH
CONAKRY FOR POL; USAID FOR AADAMS, RBONCEY, DATTEBERRY
FREETOWN FOR POL; USAID FOR JKOENEN-GRANT
MONROVIA FOR USAID/DART
NAIROBI FOR OFDA/ARO

departed Guiglo on Wednesday, 24 August for Burkina Faso
with 496 Burkinabe. State/PRM contributed 856,411 USD to
IOM for the program. About 7,000 TCNs were repatriated
nationwide, seventy percent of whom were Burkinabe. The
transit camp population sizably increased in early August,
when the Burkinabe that had been living at various places
in Guiglo town were told to move to the transit camp in
anticipation of the 7 August Independence Day celebrations.
Because of the rapid increase in size, the conditions in
the transit camp are poor.

6. Because of the WFP pipeline break, Solidarites, who
serves as WFP's implementing partner, had to stop providing
a general ration to the TCNs in Guiglo in June, and
targeted only children under six, elderly and lactating
mothers. In July, it had to make further cuts. Currently
Solidarites is providing a wet meal to about 1,080 children
5 years and younger twice a day in the camp at 0830
(porridge) and 1230 (rice and beans). WFP also provides
food for the women who prepare the meals. The team
requested Solidarites to conduct some monitoring of the
children after they receive the meals to ensure that the
children, themselves, consume the meal. The ICRC is
providing non-food items to the camp inhabitants.

7. To try to make up for the lack of a general ration,
Solidarites recently provided ten days' food from private
funds and WFP provided one weeks' worth. While problems
continue with the pipeline, WFP is exploring the
possibility of temporarily lowering the ration in the Nicla
refugee camp so that a small general distribution can be
provided in Nicla transit camp. In addition, the local
authorities have not provided the TCNs any land on which to
farm.

--------------------
PROTECTION OF TCNS
--------------------

8. The team is concerned about protection of the TCNs in
this camp, primarily because of their current status, which
is rather ambiguous. They have been forced to leave their
homes and some have been harassed and the target of
violence during their journey to Guiglo. The team talked
to a Burkinabe man from Blolekin who had had both his arms
slashed about four inches above the elbow, which severed
the tendons in his arms so that the man had lost some
control of the movement of both hands. The team heard no
reports of acts of violence in the camp perpetrated by the
local population. There is no NGO or U.N. agency, however,
providing camp management services and only the ICRC is
providing some limited protection in the transit camp. No
one organization has actually been assigned the protection
responsibility.

9. The reasons for the forced departure of the TCNs in the03 OF 06 ROME
004435

AIDAC

FROM U.S. MISSION IN ROME

ABIDJAN FOR REFUGEE COORDINATOR
DAKAR FOR USAID
GENEVA FOR RMA AND NKYLOH
CONAKRY FOR POL; USAID FOR AADAMS, RBONCEY, DATTEBERRY
FREETOWN FOR POL; USAID FOR JKOENEN-GRANT
MONROVIA FOR USAID/DART
NAIROBI FOR OFDA/ARO
EUCOM FOR POLA/J3/J4/J5
BRUSSELS FOR USAID PLERNER
STATE FOR PRM, AF, IO
NSC FOR JDWORKEN
USAID FOR USAID/A, DCHA/AA, DCHA/FFP
USAID FOR DCHA/OTI, DCHA/DG, AFR/AA, AFR/WA
USAID FOR DCH


west are not entirely clear. Possible reasons that the
team heard were as follows:

A. The locals realized that the TCNs have become rather
wealthy from their plots of coffee or cocoa, so the locals
want to assume tenure of the land;

B. The locals need to "purify" the lands and need only
Ivoirians present for this process;

C. The locals want to benefit from the proceeds of one
coffee and cocoa harvest this fall, and will probably allow
the TCNs to return in January. (Note: The locals have
never done the hard labor for the harvest. End Note.)

D. Some TCNs, and especially the Burkinabe, are thought to
have aided and abetted the rebels over the last year, so
the locals no longer trust them as a group.

10. In a conversation with UNHCR in Abidjan, UNHCR reps
candidly admitted that UNHCR had done a poor job of
providing protection to the refugees in Nicla refugee camp
in prior months, when it had been reported that armed
groups were recruiting young men from the camp. The UNHCR
representative also reported that the Government of Cote
d'Ivoire had written to the U.N. Secretary General and had
asked that UNHCR take over the responsibility for the IDPs.
UNHCR responded by declining the offer, saying that IDPs
would be handled by the U.N. interagency, and that UNHCR
would help coordinate. The UNHCR protection officer in
Guiglo clearly stated that providing protection to the
transit camp was not UNHCR's responsibility because the
camp was composed of TCNs.

----------------------
INTERVIEWS WITH TCNs
----------------------

11. The team interviewed three residents in the transit
camp. The first man told of a town meeting called in June
near his home village near Toulepleu. The meeting included
nine villages in the surrounding area. According to this
man, all non-Ivoirians were told they had to leave the
village by 0800 the following morning. He had lived in the
village since 1996, after he moved from San Pedro, some 200
miles south of Toulepleu. He said that he had paid 30,000
CFA (about 565 CFA = 1 USD) for one hectare of land (a one-
time payment) and made about 1.5 million CFA in one year
planting and harvesting cocoa. He arrived in Guiglo on 1
July and had no idea about the current status of his land.

12. The second man had arrived one week before (about 28
August). He said that he had been chased out of Blolekin
and gone into the bush because his wife had a bad leg. He
had no time to prepare to leave. He had lived in Blolekin
for eight years, moving from Abidjan. He also had paidNATOR
DAKAR FOR USAID
GENEVA FOR RMA AND NKYLOH
CONAKRY FOR POL; USAID FOR AADAMS, RBONCEY, DATTEBERRY
FREETOWN FOR POL; USAID FOR JKOENEN-GRANT
MONROVIA FOR USAID/DART
NAIROBI FOR OFDA/ARO
EUCOM FOR POLA/J3/J4/J5
BRUSSELS FOR U


30,000 CFA for one hectare of land and harvested coffee.
His landlord had taken the title for the land from him
before he left. He did not want to leave Cote d'Ivoire and
said he would return to Blolekin when he feels safe.

13. The last interviewee was an older man from Mali. He
had left Blolekin on 29 January, 2003, stopped in other
villages along the way, and arrived in Guiglo on April 15.
He said he left because of insecurity. In Guiglo, he had
first lived at the Catholic mission of St. Joseph's until
he had to move to the transit camp in early August. In
Blolekin, he owned and worked six hectares of coffee and
four of cocoa. He had lived there since 1965 and said he
had received land from the canton, an administrative
division of the government. He said he retained the paper
title to the land. He had heard that the villagers had
taken his land, as well as his animals, but expressed a
desire to return to Blolekin when he feels it safe.

----------------------------
NEW TRANSIT CAMP IN GUIGLO
----------------------------

14. UNHCR is in the process of constructing a second
transit camp, as the current one is very cramped, new
houses are being constructed in a haphazard fashion, and
the water/sanitation services are poor. The new camp will
hold approximately 2,400. The German NGO GTZ is
constructing 40 large sheds made of wooden poles and
plastic sheeting. The 40 structures will be partitioned by
plastic into twelve living areas, providing 480 total
spaces. (Note: 480 families x 5 persons per family =
2,400. End Note.) GTZ said that it would have the first
20 structures completed by September 12.

15. UNICEF has the responsibility for installing water and
sanitation services. There have been delays in the bidding
process, and when the SEC met with UNICEF in Abidjan on
September 8, no contract had yet been awarded for the work
and UNICEF could not provide an award date.

16. The U.N. interagency committee in Guiglo will soon
conduct interviews in the camp to better understand the
inhabitants' future intentions and desires. Determinations
will then be made about how to decide which TCNs will
remain in the current transit camp and which ones will be
moved to the new facility. In addition, it is hoped that
the responsibility of camp management and protection will
be assigned to a U.N. agency or an NGO.

--------------------------------------------- ----------
VISIT OF VICE CHAIRMAN OF NATIONAL ASSEMBLY TO GUIGLO
--------------------------------------------- ----------

17. The Vice Chairman of the National Assembly and the
Guiglo prefet held discussions in Guiglo right after theFUGEE COORDINATOR
DAKAR FOR USAID
GENEVA FOR RMA AND NKYLOH
CONAKRY FOR POL; USAID FOR AADAMS, RBONCEY, DATTEBERRY
FREETOWN FOR POL; USAID FOR JKOENEN-GRANT
MONROVIA FOR USAID/DART
NAIROBI FOR OFDA/ARO
EUCOM FOR POLA/J3/J4/J5
BR


team's visit. This was the second visit in six weeks to
Guiglo from officials in Abidjan. Subsequently, the Vice
Chairman provided a debrief to the Interagency Humanitarian
Coordination Committee (IAHCC) on September 15.
Discussions in Guiglo were reportedly delicate, as local
populations remain tense. They asked for the return of the
local authorities to the area as a first step in showing
that law and order is returning. Local populations would
then more readily accept the return of Ivoirian populations
from other areas. Dialogue concerning the Burkinabe is
reportedly far more difficult, as they are associated with
the rebels. The Vice Chairman was positive, however. He
recognized the need to continue dialogue and pledged his
commitment to it. He also agreed there is a role for the
international humanitarian community to support the effort.
The Prime Minister has requested that action be taken to
speed up the redeployment of the local administration in
the west, however logistical assistance is required.
During the IAHCC, humanitarian organizations were asked to
provide vehicles and office equipment.

---------
COMMENT
---------

18. The issues surrounding the TCNs, and especially the
Burkinabe, are not new, but the recent crisis has
heightened the tensions and distrust. The fact that
dialogue is beginning at the local levels with
representation from Abidjan is good news indeed.

-----------------
RECOMMENDATIONS
-----------------

19. The team makes the following recommendations:

- Solidarites needs to institute post-distribution
monitoring for the children's wet feeding in the Nicla
Transit Camp to ensure that the children are the ones who
consume the meals.

- Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N. (FAO)
should work with the local authorities to provide land to
the transit camp inhabitants if they are going to be
displaced for months. FAO should also ensure the TCNs have
seeds and tools.

- Until WFP's pipeline becomes full, WFP should
temporarily lower the ration in the Nicla refugee camp to
allow the transit camp beneficiaries to receive a general
ration, albeit reduced.

- The U.N. interagency must address the issues of
protection and camp management for both transit camps.
Camp inhabitants must be told soon who will remain at the FOR AADAMS,
RBONCEY, DATTEBERRY
FREETOWN FOR POL; USAID FOR JKOENEN-GRANT
MONROVIA FOR USAID/DART
NAIROBI FOR OFDA/ARO
EUCOM FOR POLA/J3/J4/J5
BRUSSELS FOR USAID PLERNER
STATE FOR PRM, AF, IO
NSC FOR JDWORKEN
USAID FOR USAID/A,


present transit camp and who will move to the new one being
built.

- UNCEF needs to move quickly to install water points and
latrines in the new transit camp.

20. Ambassador Render cleared this cable.

21. Minimize considered. CLEVERLEY


NNNN
2003ROME04435 - Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

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