Niger + 7 more

Niger: Country Operation Update, October 2018

Situation Report
Originally published
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  • 1,675 Refugees evacuated temporarily from Libya to Niger as part of the ETM (Emergency Transit Mechanism) from November 2017 – October 2018

  • 2,133 Persons profiled by UNHCR in Agadez seeking asylum

  • 48,736 Persons internally displaced in the Tillaberi & Tahoua regions

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 most of the Malian refugees are increasingly affected by insecurity and terrorism. A State of Emergency was declared last year, and extended this year. There are currently 57,719 Malian refugees in Niger. The Government of Niger and UNHCR seek to accelerate the socioeconomic integration of these refugees and the closure of the camps through urbanization by the end of 2020.

  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 almost 250,000 displaced persons in the region (including 118,868 refugees, 104,288 IDPs, 25,731 returnees). The majority live in spontaneous sites or with the local population, while UNHCR manages one refugee camp, with 14,563 people. In 2018, despite a complex security context, all actors agreed on the necessity to engage strongly in development oriented interventions. The Government of Niger, UNHCR and the World Bank are working closely in that direction. Additionally, an EU Trust Fund project is ongoing in Diffa region, aimed at supporting economic recovery and long term solutions through urbanization and 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. 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 48,736 people. Protection monitoring, advocacy, capacity building and coordinated efforts with humanitarian actors are ongoing to ensure an adequate response to the situation. A humanitarian corridor was set up in early October to secure access for evaluations, targeting exercises and emergency response of humanitarian actors.

  4. Mixed Movements: Niger is a major crossroads of migratory movements northwards towards Libya, Algeria and the Mediterranean. These migratory flows constitute mixed movements, 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. 2,133 persons, mostly Sudanese, are currently profiled by UNHCR in Agadez. 25% are minors and 229 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 and women and girls at risk. To date, 1,675 persons have been evacuated.