Cameroon currently has 1,214,714 people of concern, including 275,711 Central African and 138,315 Nigerian refugees.
From 30-31 January, Volker Türk, UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, undertook an official visit to Yaoundé, Cameroon.
Since 27 January, some 35,000 Nigerian nationals have crossed the border into Cameroon seeking refuge after fleeing the town of Rann.
WORKING WITH PARTNERS
UNHCR coordinates protection and assistance for persons of concern in collaboration with:
Government Partners: Ministries of External Relations, Territorial Administration, Economy, Planning and Regional Development, Public Health, Women Empowerment and Family, Social Affairs, Justice, Basic Education, Water and Energy, Youth and Civic Education, the National Employment Fund and others, Secrétariat Technique des Organes de Gestion du Statut des réfugiés.
Implementing Partners: Africa Humanitarian Action (AHA), African Initiatives for Relief and Development (AIRD), Agence pour le Développment Economique et Social (ADES), Catholic Relief Services (CRS), FAIRMED, International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC), Intersos, International Medical Corps (IMC), Lutheran World Federation (LWF), Plan International, Première Urgence - Internationale (PUI) and Public Concern.
Operational Partners: ICRC, Adventist Relief Agency (ADRA), ASOL, Red Deporte, IEDA Relief, Action Contre la Faim (ACF), Solidarités International and CARE International.
UN Agencies: WFP, UNICEF, WHO, UNFPA, UN Women, FAO, UNESCO, IOM, UNDP and UNOCHA.
Operational coordination: The response for Central African refugees is managed in line with the Refugee Coordination Model. Sectorial groups have been established by UNHCR, covering the whole operational area. Local authorities have been very engaged in the management of the refugee operation. At the capital-level, UNHCR leads the Multi-Sector Operations Team for the Refugee Response and the national Protection Working Group, and actively participates in other relevant humanitarian coordination mechanisms and the Humanitarian Country Team.
The month of January was marked by a surge in violence by non-state armed groups (NSAGs) with repeated attacks in the Far North region characterized by killings, kidnappings and the burning of villages and foodstuff. On 14 January an attack in the North-eastern Nigerian town of Rann had immediate repercussions in Cameroon’s Far North region whereby more than 9,000 people crossed over, seeking refuge in Goura and Medina in the department of Logone et Chari. Another attack in Loumani, a locality close to Rann on the night of 26 January, and the withdrawal of Cameroonian elements of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) from the town of Rann, saw an influx of some 35,000 Nigerian asylum seekers into Goura, Cameroon. On 31 January, UNHCR’s Assistant Representative (Operations) accompanied the Humanitarian Coordinator, Allegra Baiocchi, to Goura where, together with other partners, they took stock of the emergency situation, the current coordinated response and assessed the needs.
Following reports of refoulement in mid-January and the news of a significant influx of asylum seekers from Nigeria, UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Refugees in charge of Protection, Volker Türk undertook a mission to Cameroon from 29-30 January. He held talks with the Minister of External Relations, Lejeune Mbella Mbella and with the Minister of State, Secretary General at the Presidency of the Republic, Ferdinand Ngoh Ngoh where they discussed the displacement situation in Cameroon and the protection and security challenges. Mr Türk also met with the Humanitarian Coordinator in Cameroon, with the Country Director of the World Bank, Elisabeth Huybens, the US Ambassador, Peter Barlerin, as well as members of the donor community and diplomatic corps.
From 28-29 January, Nigeria hosted the 2nd Regional Protection Dialogue (RPD2) for populations affected by the ongoing instability in the Lake Chad Basin. The Dialogue, which was hosted by Nigeria with facilitation by UNHCR, took stock of progress, examined the current challenges and renewed the commitments of the Governments of Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria to collectively enhance protection and respond to the most urgent needs of refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs), and other affected populations in the Lake Chad Basin. NSAGs have terrorized north-east Nigeria since 2009 leading to millions being internally displaced and tens of thousands others fleeing into neighbouring Cameroon, Chad and Niger. The governments reaffirmed the importance of the renewed commitments to addressing issues highlighted in the 2016 Abuja Action Statement of the first RPD. The main issues were based on five thematic areas: Forced Displacement and Freedom of Movement in Conflict; Civil-Military Coordination and the Civilian Character of Refugee and IDP Hosting Areas; Persons with Specific Protection Risks;
Comprehensive Solutions Approach and Right to Nationality and Documentation.
- UNHCR, together with the UN Development Programme and other partners, launched the 2019 Nigeria Regional Refugee Response Plan (RRRP), an appeal for US$135 million to help hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the worsening Boko Haram insurgency in the Lake Chad Basin region. The newly launched aid appeal aims to broaden the humanitarian response towards a longer-term approach - to support those forced to flee and the communities hosting them. Refugee hosting communities are already living below the poverty line and in dire need of aid themselves with their ability to help the displaced being stretched to the limit. The 40 UN agencies and humanitarian organizations that joined the 2019 Nigeria Regional Refugee Response Plan (RRRP), will cater for the needs of a quarter million Nigerian refugees and 55,000 of their hosts in Niger, Cameroon and Chad. In Cameroon, 22 partners involved have planned a response that targets 99,500 refugees, 20,000 individuals from host communities and which will require US$ 65.1 million.