Saturday, September 30, 2006

UN refugee agency to close southeastern Guinea office

Good news for an area that's long overdue for a little. In the 1990s and early 2000s, Guinea hosted over a million refugees, mostly from the civil wars in neighboring Sierra Leone and Liberia and most located in the southeastern forest region of the country. The social and environmental impact on the region and on indigenous Guineans was enormous.

So I was pleased to read that the refugee crisis in the region had subsided so much that the UN High Commission for Refugees has decided to close its office in the southeastern city of Kissidougou (which is my adopted hometown).

But while La Guinée forestière was once bursting at the seams with refugees, only 39,000 remain in the entire country. The rest have been repatriated back to Sierra Leone, Liberia or Côte d'Ivoire.

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