Mauritania: UNHCR Operational Update as of 15 October 2019
In September, Mr. Richard Albright, PRM Deputy Assistant Secretary (DAS), visited Mbera refugee camp and the moughata (department) of Bassikounou. During his three-day visit DAS Albright met with Mauritanian local authorities, UN agencies and NGOs operating in the Hodh Ech Chargui region and with Malian refugees and host community members. DAS Albright praised the good collaboration between UNHCR and the Mauritanian government in terms of refugee protection, as well as the generosity of the host community of the moughata with Malian refugees.
As part of UNHCR’s ongoing registration activities for people seeking international protection, some 232 refugees were newly registered in Mbera camp during August and September. Since the beginning of the year, UNHCR has registered 4,004 refugees in Mbera camp, which includes more Fulani refugees and refugees who were living in the camp and surrounding areas, but who had previously elected not to register with UNHCR.
In August, UNHCR Mauritania deployed the Population Registration and Identity Management EcoSystem (PRIMES). This will provide refugees and other displaced populations access to a legal and digital identity that can be recognized by States and businesses, while safeguarding protection in their daily lives and fostering socio-economic inclusion.
In September, UNHCR presented to its partners and stakeholders in Nouakchott the results of a survey on migrants and refugees conducted in Nouadhibou. In order to more accurately estimate the size of this population, the survey was conducted using the Respondent Driven Sampling (RDS) methodology which relies on peers recruiting peers, which has proven successful in estimating hard-to-reach populations. This survey will enable UNHCR to better respond to the protection and assistance needs of a population estimated at 10,000 individuals.
The 2019 exam sessions of the Diploma of Fundamental Study (DEF) and of the Baccalaureate were held at Mbera camp. Out of 93 students enrolled in the DEF, 78 successfully passed their exams. This year, for the first time, UNHCR and partners used biometric technology to verify candidates’ identities (Biometric Identity Management System and Global Distribution Tool), with the aim of ensuring the integrity of the examination process.
In September, 5,160 medical consultations were performed and 26 medical evacuations to health facilities in Nema, Kiffa and Nouakchott took place for refugee patients and host community members in need of urgent medical attention.