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Cablegate: Unhcr Concerned About Revoked Asylum Status

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

UNCLAS DJIBOUTI 000959

SIPDIS

E.O.12958: N/A
TAGS: PREF PREL DJ ET ER SO
SUBJECT: UNHCR CONCERNED ABOUT REVOKED ASYLUM STATUS
FOR REFUGEES FROM ERITREA AND ETHIOPIA

1. (U) Summary. On September 20 UNHCR Country Representative met wi
Ambassador and ConOff to raise concerns about refugees in Djibouti.
September 14 refugees in the transit camp of Aour Aoussa were alleged
that they had 36 hours to leave. UNHCR was most concerned about Erit
Ethiopian refugees whose asylum status was suddenly being revoked and
support in opposing Djibouti's decision. End Summary.

2. (U) UNHCR Country Representative Collins Asare, accompanied by a
representative of the World Food Program, met with Ambassador and Con
ask for USG support in opposing the decision of the Government of Dji
(GoD) to revoke the asylum status for 74 Eritreans and 109 Ethiopians
Djibouti. Fifty-one Ethiopians who were given asylum status by UNHCR
allowed to stay. But those that had been granted status by the GoD i
the status revoked and were asked to leave.

3. (U) Asare conceded that 80% of the individuals in the camp, mostl
Somali origin, should be resettled. He said UNHCR believes that the
the self-proclaimed refugees are actually Djiboutians, or ethnic Soma
stable areas. UNHCR has been repatriating thousands of Somalis to no
Somalia over the past two years.

4. (U) Asare's concern focused on the GoD's revocation of the refuge
without warning and without consultation with UNHCR. According to As
U.N. ordinance number 77053/P.R/A.E. dictates that the GoD is obliged
consult UNHCR before taking such an action except in urgent cases of
security.

5. (U) Asare asked for U.S. support to oppose the action of the GoD.
that we pressure the government to allow the refugees to stay longer
situation in their countries stabilizes. Alternatively, he suggested
simply ask the GoD to include UNHCR in the decisions regarding refuge
indicated that he would also approach the French Embassy with the sam

6. (U) Ambassador listened but declined to commit to such action giv
interest in early repatriation of many of the Aour Aussa refugees who
established as economic migrants vice refugees from conflict. She as
however, if any specific action had been taken by the Government of D
enforce the directive that Aour Aoussa refugees depart. Asare respon
although the refugees were told they had 36 hours to leave, no action
taken yet to remove them. Also, no specifics were given about what m
happen if they did not leave. It is not clear if they will be allowe
one of the other refugee camps after Aour Aoussa closes, or allowed t
into Djibouti. Embassy will track developments on this issue and prov
reporting and commentary.
RAGSDALE

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