Since Eritrea's independence, more than 750,000 have fled, 500,000 of whom went to Sudan. Following Eritrea's liberation in 1991, many of these refugees returned voluntarily, although there were still some 315,000 in Sudan at the end of 1997. An Eritrean plan for repatriation from Sudan was implemented between 1994 and June 1995, with 25,000 refugees successfully repatriated. Another 80,000 returned on their own. Results of a data collection exercise conducted in Sudan in April 1998 suggested that 90% of Eritrean refugees (some 130,000) were willing to be repatriated. The Eritrean/Ethiopian border conflict had also displaced more than 300,000 people within Eritrea as of 1999.
Also as of 1999, there were nearly 3,150 refugees in Eritrea, mainly from Somalia and Sudan. In 2001, the net migration rate for Eritrea was 7.61 migrants per 1,000 population, a significant change from -22.5 per thousand in 1990. The UNHCR began repatriating 150,000 Eritrean refugees from Sudan in that year, due to renewed diplomatic relations between the two countries.