Niger: Country Operation Update, May 2018
1,287 Refugees evacuated from Libya to Niger as part of the ETM (Emergency Transit Mechanism) from November 2017 – May 2018
2,036 Persons profiled by UNHCR in Agadez seeking asylum within the mix migration flow
13,900 Persons internally displaced in the Tillaberi region
The key situations include:
The Mali situation: began in 2012 with the outbreak of conflict in northern Mail. 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 for a further 6 months in February 2018. There are currently 57,952 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 through urbanization and other programmes aimed at socio-economic integration. A regional EU Trust Fund project was recently launched aimed at strengthening the resilience of displaced populations in northern Mali and supporting peaceful coexistence between communities.
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 13,969 people (as of 31 May 2018). Another EU Trust Fund project is ongoing aimed at accompanying economic recovery and municipal investments through the realization of durable housing projects.
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 Tillaberi, bordering Mali. In 2018, attacks and insecurity in that area have resulted in the internal displacement of at least 13,900 people so far. Protection monitoring, advocacy, capacity building sessions and coordinated efforts with humanitarian actors are ongoing to ensure close follow up on the situation.
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. 2,036 persons, mostly Sudanese, are currently profiled by UNHCR in Agadez, 24% of them are minors and 205 are unaccompanied or separated children. The situation has become more complex in the last months, with the addition of downward movements from Libya and Algeria.
Emergency Transit Mechanism (ETM): This special and rather unusual 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,
Somalian, Ethiopian, Sudanese and South Sudanese. 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 (around 254) and women and girls at risk. To date, 1,287 people have been evacuated from Libya to Niger and a total of 164 individuals have departed for resettlement from Niger to France, the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland. Other countries offering resettlement places are Germany, the UK, Finland, Canada and the USA.