Burkina Faso + 1 more

Burkina Faso: UNHCR Operational Update, October 2018


Operational Context

The key situations include:

1. The Mali Situation: began in 2011 with the outbreak of conflict in northern Mali. Today, over 24,000 Malians have found refuge in Burkina Faso. 98% are based in the Sahel Region, in one of the two consolidated camps or in spontaneous sites in Soum and Oudalan provinces. In 2017, a regional EU Trust Fund three-year project was launched and aimed at strengthening resilience and improve peaceful coexistence of refugees and host communities in the Sahel. With the support of major donors such as USA and France, UNHCR aims to facilitate the socioeconomic integration of Malian refugees and gradually transform refugee camps into villages adapted to the national context.

For the first time, new arrivals from Mali entered in Boucle du Mouhoun and North Regions, fleeing intercommunal violence in Cercle de Mopti and Cercle de Koro, areas bordering Burkina Faso. UNHCR has no presence in those regions, hence local authorities have been registering new arrivals and monitoring the situation with UNHCR’s support. According to Government statistics, there are about 4,500 new arrivals. 1,500 are believed to be from Burkinabe origin but were living in Mali for many years, some of them only have the Malian nationality. The continued violence in Central Mali might lead to additional displacement into these border regions.

2. Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs): Due to insecurity in northern Burkina Faso, almost 39 000 Burkinabe have left their homes, fleeing southwards or to the East, and are now displaced within Burkina Faso. IDPs face similar protection risks as refugees. Inter-agency efforts are underway to register all displaced persons and provide assistance, with UNHCR taking the lead on protection and camp management and coordination. In addition, and as a result of this displacement, over 7,000 Burkinabe citizens crossed the border to look for safety in neighboring Mali. They are being registered by UNHCR Mali and its national counterpart.

3. Mixed Movements: Burkina Faso is a transit country of migratory movements northwards towards Libya, Algeria and the Mediterranean Sea. These migratory flows are mixed and consist of economic migrants, as well as persons in need of international protection. In Burkina Faso, in close cooperation with IOM, UNICEF, the Government and other partners, UNHCR tries to identify those in need of protection and provide them with information regarding asylum in Burkina Faso and basic assistance. Similarly, UNHCR is assessing the feasibility with the Government of setting up an Emergency Transit Mechanism (ETM) to provide life-saving protection, assistance and long-term solutions to extremely vulnerable refugees trapped in detention in Libya, through temporary evacuation to Burkina Faso and onwards resettlement to third countries.

4. Statelessness: Burkina Faso counts a large number of stateless people or people at risk of statelessness. UNHCR works with the Government to implement a national Action Plan.

Security Situation

The Sahel Region, where the caseload of Malian refugees are settled, continues to be affected by armed groups. Movements of suspected extremists have been reported, as well as incursions in villages and targeted killings of Government officials, community leaders and teachers by armed extremists threatening the population. National and international military operations are ongoing and will be reinforced over the coming months. The police posts at Mentao refugee camp were attacked three times and several refugee hosting communities have been directly affected by attacks and criminality over the last months.

Furthermore, the security situation is also worrying in the East of the country, where attacks against military sites and civilian population started mid-2018. If this situation continues, additional IDP flows in the East are not excluded. The situation in Boucle du Mouhoun and North remain volatile, which might cause secondary movements.