UNHCR Niger: Mali Situation Overview - August 2019
Acceleration of the socio-economic integration of Malian refugees
Niger is hosting Malian refugees since the outbreak of the crisis in Northern Mali in 2012. The refugees are living in 3 refugee camps in the Tillaberi region, in a refugee hosting area (ZAR) for nomadic refugees in Intikane, in the Tahoua region, and in urban areas such as Niamey and Ayorou. A second refugee hosting area - Tazalite, was closed by the Government in December 2016 following an attack against the security forces.
Malian refugees are recognized on a prima facie basis and enjoy a favorable protection environment with the right to settle where they wish, to access basic social services and the formal and informal job market.
Due to increasing instability in the regions bordering Mali, a State of Emergency was declared by the Government in several departments in March 2017. This has been extended and prolonged on several occasion. The security situation is impacting dramatically the socio-economic fabric of the areas hosting refugees.
As of the end of June 2019, 56,343 Malian refugees are biometrically registered in Niger. This ongoing registration operation considerably aids in monitoring population movements and in the provision of adequate protection and assistance. In Tahoua region, notably in the refugee hosting area of Intikane, UNHCR has witnessed on a continuous basis new arrivals coming from Mali. These persons, estimated at 4574, have been pre-registered by the National Commission of Eligibility, UNHCR’s counterpart.
A tripartite agreement between UNHCR and the Governments of Niger and Mali signed in 2014, provides a legal framework for voluntary returns in respect of international standards. However, the parties consider that the conditions in parts of Northern Mali are not yet conducive to returns in safety and dignity and therefore UNHCR assists those who wish to return voluntarily with a cash grant.
At the end of April 2019, due to the increasing instability in Burkina Faso, a first group of Burkinabe has arrived in Niger. Today, there are at least over 2000 persons in highly volatile border areas, with an estimated 1000 Nigeriens internally displaced