Mali + 1 more

Mali: UNHCR Operational Update, 1 June - 31 July 2016

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Situation Report
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KEY FIGURES

238
Urban refugee children attending primary schools in Bamako successfully completed their school year to move onto the next grade level.

1,610
Malian refugees in Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Niger benefited from transportation assistance during their voluntary return to Mali.

172
Protection incidents were reported in the regions of Gao, Mopti and Timbuktu.

FUNDING

USD 49.2 million
requested for the operation

HIGHLIGHTS

  • UNHCR, through its partner Mercy Corps, delivered a one-time cash-based assistance to 6,016 returning refugee in the regions of Gao, Mopti and Timbuktu to help them reintegrate in a safe and dignified manner. A strong need for cash assistance remains among newly returned refugees and those who are vulnerable among previously returned.

  • UNHCR’s partner, Luxembourg Red Cross, has completed 84% of traditional shelters (152 out of 180) and 20% of mud shelters (45 out of 220) planned for Timbuktu region in 2016. This assistance will help refugee returnees and IDPs gain access to safe, dignified and appropriate shelter.

  • UNHCR welcomed its new Representative to Mali, Ms. Angèle Djohossou.

UPDATE ON ACHIEVEMENTS

Operational Context

UNHCR continues to operate in a volatile security environment with persistent threats of terrorism, criminality and intercommunity violence affecting humanitarian access in parts of the north and centre. Growing insecurity as a result of serious attacks such as the terrorist attack against the Nampala military camp on July 19 prompted the Malian government to recently extend the country’s state of emergency status until March 29, 2017. In the north, violations of basic human rights are reported and certain local populations continue to lack access to public services, documentation, water, and food security. Some 133,888 Malian refugees remain in neighbouring countries and 37,801 internally displaced persons in Mali are waiting to see whether conditions in their area of origin improve to enable them to return in safety and dignity.

On June 29, 2016 the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) adopted Resolution 2295 renewing the mandate of MINUSMA for one year. The mission was authorized to adopt a more “proactive and robust posture” in the protection of civilians against asymmetric threats and is expected to increase its troop levels. This renewal takes place in the context of ongoing challenges with respect to the implementation of the peace agreement in the areas of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) and cantonments.

The recent nomination of interim government authorities triggered a series of youth-led demonstrations in the regions of Gao, Timbuktu and Bamako with demonstrations in Gao escalating into violence on July 12 when three protestors were killed, 35 were injured and a dozen security forces were also injured. Furthermore, simmering tensions between combattants of Platform Movement and the Coordination of movements of Azawad (CMA), both signatories of the peace accord, led to clashes on July 21 and 22, then again on July 30, resulting in severe losses (exact numbers unknown), including civilians and children, as well as internal displacements. This confrontation was condemned to be in violation of the Algiers, Anéfis and the recently signed Niamey accords. MINUSMA reinforced its presence since the renewed fighting and continues to intercept armed convoys that try to move towards or from Kidal.

The threat of terrorism and criminality remains high in the north and centre of Mali. National and international security forces remain the target of most attacks, but international civilian personnel are at higher risk of hostage takings or kidnappings. The IED threat remains high in most areas of the North. On July 19, the Malian military camp in the town of Nampala in Ségou region suffered a terrorist attack causing 17 deaths and 35 injuries among soldiers. This attack, claimed by Ansar Dine, took place 70km south of the town of Bassikounou in Mauritania where UNHCR has an office. On July 26, Malian Special Forces captured a top commander of Katiba Macina affiliated with terrorist group Ansar Dine triggering concerns of potential retaliation attacks. This further contributes to the observed tendency of sliding insecurity from the north to the centre of Mali.

The volatile security environment continues to destabilize local communities, jeopardize the protection of civilians, and prevent forcibly displaced persons from returning to their homes, while further threatening their access to already limited basic social services. The insecurity also compromises their ability to re-engage in socio-economic activities critical to rebuilding their lives. Access to persons of concern for the delivery of humanitarian protection and assistance in the north and centre of Mali has become a significant challenge for UNHCR and other actors. Frequent criminal attacks continue to be reported on several major routes in the North. In addition to insecurity, the rainy season has rendered certain highways difficult for road travel, impeding access to certain zones of intervention throughout the country.

The need to uphold humanitarian principles is of utmost importance to counter the shrinking of humanitarian space necessary to conduct life-saving activities. Incorporating protection mainstreaming principles and promoting a meaningful access, safety and dignity for humanitarian aid remains key to humanitarian actors.