Niger: Country Operation Update, February 2018
1,020 Refugees evacuated from Libya to Niger as part of the ETM from November 2017 – February 2018
1,245 Persons profiled by UNHCR in Agadez seeking asylum
1,540 Persons internally displaced in the Tillabery region
- The beginning of 2018 marked increased complexity in the operational context, and a shift from 3 to 5 key situations and contexts. The key situations include:
- The Mali situation: began in 2012 with the outbreak of conflict in northern Mail. The regions of Tillabery and Tahoua bordering Mali and hosting the majority of the refugees are affected by much insecurity. A State of Emergency was declared last year, and extended for a further 6 months in February 2018. There are 57, 067 Malian refugees in Niger. UNHCR aims to support the socio- economic integration of these refugees and the closure of the camps by the end of 2019.
- The Nigeria situation: began in 2013, with the arrival of the first Nigerian refugees across the border. The situation deteriorated with the first attacks in Niger territory in 2015. There are over 250,000 displaced persons in the region (108,470 refugees, 129,015 IDPs and 14,820 returnees – Govt. of Niger, Oct 2017). The majority live in spontaneous sites or with the local population, while UNHCR manages one camp, with just over 13,000 people.
- Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs): In the Diffa region, the situation is extremely mixed. Efforts are underway to complete biometric registration of all displaced persons, including IDPs, who are often faced with similar protection risks as refugees. However, the IDP situation in Niger has become more complex with increasing insecurity in the region of Tillabery. In 2018, attacks and insecurity have resulted in the internal displacement of at least 1,540 people for the first time.
- 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 and 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. 1,279 persons are currently profiled by UNHCR, awaiting registration with the government.
- Emergency Evacuation Transit Mechanism (ETM): This programme aims to provide life-saving assistance and long-term solutions to the most vulnerable refugees trapped in detention in Libya, through evacuation to Niger, which has temporarily extended its asylum space to welcome these people. The aim is to seek durable solutions, including resettlement for these refugees, who are mainly Eritrean, Somalian, Ethiopian, Sudanese and South Sudanese. To date, 1,020 people have been evacuated from Libya to Niger. 25 refugees have already been resettled to France. UNHCR is urgently seeking resettlement places to respond to the needs.