Borderlands in Africa as an asylum for war and political refugees
Africa is placed second among all continents as to the number of refugees. The number of persons remaining under the mandate of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees – UNHCR in Africa has reached 6,072,900 (as for January 1, 2002) or 27.86% of all registered refugees on the world (UNHCR basic..., 2002). Only in Asia there are more refugees: 38.77%. It should be noted, though, that only a part of refugees are comprised in the UNHCR registers. Two categories of refugees can be distinguished: international and internal ones. The former includes persons who have crossed at least one state border while emigrating; the latter includes internally displaced persons (IDPs).There is no clear-cut definition of the ‘refugee camp’. This term is applied to settlements that vary as to their size and character. Generally speaking, the refugee camps are restricted areas, accessible only for refugees and people who assist them. The refugee camp are conceived as temporary shelters where refugees are taken into care until they can go back home or move to another place. Contrary to refugee villages or refugee settlements, the refugee camp are usually not self-sufficient. Three types of refugee camps can be distinguished with regard to their situation in relation to international borders: 1. Refugee camps situated in borderlands within the country of origin. They draw migrants fleeing local civil wars or political prosecutions who, however, do not find the situation dramatic enough to definitely leave their country. Refugees remain in an immediate proximity of the border, always ready to emigrate abroad. 2. Refugee camps situated also in borderlands but outside the territory of the sending country. Refugees remain in touch with their country, waiting for changes in politico-military situation that would make possible their return home. 3. Refugee camps located up-country, often near large cities (capitals in particular). For such camps are not related to border areas, in this paper they are left out of account.
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