Mauritania + 3 more

UNHCR Global Appeal 2015 Update - Mauritania

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| Overview |

Working environment

  • Following the conflict that erupted in northern Mali in 2012, by mid-August 2013, 72,000 Malian refugees had sought refuge in Mauritania and were settled in a wellequipped refugee camp in the remote south-east area of the country. UNHCR is progressively moving out of the emergency response phase, with the number of arrivals having shrunk to an average of 13 refugees a day in August 2013, from a peak of 1,000 to 1,500 in early 2012.

  • Since June 2013, UNHCR has been observing a small number of spontaneous returns to Mali. However, despite efforts to stabilize the country, including the deployment of a peacekeeping force and the presidential elections in mid-2013, the humanitarian and security situation in Mali remains fragile. Large-scale returns of refugees are therefore not yet envisaged and the Mauritania Office and its partners are maintaining their presence in Bassikounou/Mbera camp to continue the humanitarian response and ensure preparedness in case of any new influx, should the situation deteriorate.

  • For urban refugees, in the absence of a national asylum system, UNHCR conducts refugee status determination (RSD); works to strengthen the capacity of national authorities on asylum; provides assistance targeting refugees with specific needs; and seeks durable solutions for the refugees. By 31 July 2013, UNHCR had registered 478 refugees and 975 asylum seekers living in urban areas in Nouakchott and Nouadhibou, mostly from sub-Saharan African countries. In addition, 26,000 Sahrawi people continue to be considered as being in a refugeelike situation. They have not approached UNHCR as they are well integrated in Mauritania.

  • Mauritania is a party to the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol and is in the process of developing a national asylum system with UNHCR’s assistance. A draft law on asylum is awaiting adoption at the next parliamentary session, following the legislative elections scheduled for November 2013.

  • Over 12,000 Mauritanian refugees are registered in Mali, of whom some 8,000 have expressed the wish to return home. Activities related to the repatriation and reintegration of these refugees will start once a Tripartite Agreement between Mauritania, Mali and UNHCR is concluded.

  • The Government of Mauritania provides land for Mbera camp and security for Malian refugees and humanitarian workers in the country, as well as access to basic services for urban refugees.

People of concern

The main groups of people of concern planned for in 2014 under the Mauritania operation are: Malian refugees who fled insecurity in northern Mali; urban refugees and asylumseekers, mostly Ivorian and Congolese; and Mauritanian returnees from Mali and Senegal.