This update covers the period July-September 2019 and provides an overview of regional and country trends as well as of programming and advocacy work undertaken by UNHCR Operations in the field of Mixed Movements. It includes contributions from: RRWA; Burkina Faso; Chad; Mali; Niger and Nigeria.
The crisis in the Sahel region reached unprecedented levels and continues to compound the magnitude of forced displacement, which impact mixed movement trends in West and Central Africa. The worsening security situation in Mali, intense fighting in Niger, violence and attacks on civilians in Burkina Faso, the precarious situation in Cameroon’s Far North and the deteriorating and volatile security situation in North East Nigeria caused large scale forced displacement within and beyond borders and jeopardized safe return.
Documenting the scale and nature of risks and abuses along travel routes in West and Central Africa is challenging. For many, the crossing of the Mediterranean is just a final step of a much longer and often very dangerous journey that has included passing through areas of armed conflict, crossing deserts, and for some, being held for ransom and tortured, or trafficked for sexual or labour exploitation. Evidence suggests that refugees on the move across West and North Africa are at risk of death, extreme physical abuse, sexual and gender-based violence, kidnapping, robberies and detention. Refugee protection in the context of mixed movements is part of UNHCR’s core mandate and should be mainstreamed into the regular activities of the operation.