Viewing cable 03ROME4435
Title: PLIGHT OF THIRD COUNTRY NATIONALS IN WESTERN COTE

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
03ROME44352003-09-26 15:22:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Rome
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 
 
 
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	2003ROME04435 - Classification: UNCLASSIFIED