Tanzania hosts large numbers of refugees (nearly 630,000 in April 2004 by Government count). It shares borders with Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda within the Great Lakes Region (GLR), a powder keg of forced displacement. Nearly three quarters of the 4.8 million ‘persons of concern to UNHCR’ found in Africa in 2003 are in the GLR. In examining the determinants and implications of the Refugees Act of 1998 of Tanzania, an opportunity is provided to gain an insight into how a pre-eminent country of asylum is responding to challenges of refugee protection and assistance. Secondly, is the possibility to assess the extent to which Tanzania has remained faithful to the ‘Open Door Policy’ for which the country earned international recognition through the Nansen Award in 1983. And lastly, how successfully has the legislation responded to the country's international obligations?

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