Niger: Country Operation Update, August 2018
1,536 Refugees evacuated temporarily from Libya to Niger as part of the ETM (Emergency Transit Mechanism) from November 2017 – August 2018
2,094 Persons profiled by UNHCR in Agadez seeking asylum
32,183 Persons internally displaced in the Tillaberi region .
Operational Context The key situations include:
1. The Mali situation: began in 2012 with the outbreak of conflict in northern Mali. The regions of Tillaberi and Tahoua bordering Mali and hosting the majority of the refugees are increasingly affected by insecurity and terrorism. A State of Emergency was declared last year, and extended this year. There are currently 58,304 Malian refugees in Niger. UNHCR supports the socioeconomic integration of these refugees and the closure of the camps by the end of 2019 through urbanization and other programmes aimed at integration.
2. The Nigeria situation: began in 2013, with the arrival of the first Nigerian refugees across the border fleeing Boko Haram. The situation deteriorated with the first attacks in Niger territory in 2015. There are over 250,000 displaced persons in the region. The majority live in spontaneous sites or with the local population, while UNHCR manages one refugee camp, with 14,130 people.
An EU Trust Fund project is ongoing in Diffa region, aimed at supporting economic recovery and long term solutions through the construction of durable housing.
3. Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs): The displaced population in the Diffa region is extremely mixed, including refugees, IDPs and returnees. Efforts are underway to complete biometric registration of all displaced persons, including IDPs, who often face similar protection risks as refugees. However, the IDP situation in Niger has become more complex with increasing insecurity in the regions of Tillaberi and Tahoua, bordering Mali. In 2018, attacks and insecurity in the area have resulted in the internal displacement of at least 32,183 people (with a huge increase in Abala department this month). Protection monitoring, advocacy, capacity building and coordinated efforts with humanitarian actors are ongoing to ensure an adequate response to the situation.
4. Mixed Migration: Niger is a major crossroads of migratory movements northwards towards Libya,
Algeria and the Mediterranean. These migratory flows constitute mixed migration, including economic migrants as well as persons in need of international protection. In Agadez, UNHCR works to identify asylum seekers within the migratory flows and works with the government, as well as IOM and NGOs to provide these persons with information and assistance. 2,091 persons, mostly Sudanese, are currently profiled by UNHCR in Agadez. 25% are minors and 222 are unaccompanied or separated children. The situation has become more complex, with the addition of downward movements from Libya and Algeria. A new humanitarian centre is being built to accommodate and screen those seeking protection.
5. Emergency Transit Mechanism (ETM): This unique programme aims to provide life-saving protection, assistance and long-term solutions to extremely vulnerable refugees trapped in detention in Libya, through temporary evacuation to Niger. The aim is to deliver protection and identify durable solutions, including resettlement for these refugees, who are mainly Eritrean and Somalian. Their profiles mainly include survivors of torture or other forms of violence in the country of origin and/or transit countries (e.g. Libya) and others with compelling protection needs. Many of them are unaccompanied children (216) and women and girls at risk. To date, 1,536 people have been evacuated from Libya to Niger and a total of 399 individuals have departed for resettlement from Niger to France, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland and Switzerland. Other countries offering resettlement places are Belgium, Canada, Germany, Norway the UK, and the USA.