UNHCR Operation in Niger Factsheet - March 2014
The crisis in northern Mali since 2012 has forced some 50,000 Malians into exile into Niger. It has also led to the return of 5,124 nationals of Niger previously living in the Gao area. Most refugees live in the three camps established in Tillaberi region in 2012, namely Abala, Mangaize and Tabareybarey. In 2013, in an attempt to adapt to the specific needs of nomadic refugees, two “refugee hosting areas” were established in Intikane and Tazalit, Tahoua region. These are vast areas where nomadic Malian refugees can settle freely with their livestock enabling them to live according to their traditional and pastoral way of life with grazing land for their animals. In 2013, after the French and Ecowas military intervention and the creation of the MINUSMA force, refugees have continued to cross into Niger. Following the presidential elections in July-August 2013, a back-and-forth movement between Niger and the areas of origin in Mali has been observed. Some refugees have also asked UNHCR for return assistance. Even though in UNHCR’s own assessment the situation in Northern Mali does not yet call for an organized voluntary repatriation, UNHCR decided to respect the will of the refugees and to assist those who wish to return home.
Since the declaration of a state of emergency in May 2013 in Adamawa, Yobe and Borno states in northern Nigeria, thousands of displaced persons (Niger citizens, Nigerian refugees, and third country nationals) have sought refuge in Diffa region, southeast Niger. The local population has generously received the outflow of persons fleeing violence in Nigeria by hosting them in their families and communities. UNHCR, in coordination with partners, provides protection and humanitarian assistance through a community-based approach. The out-of-camp programme in Diffa focuses on strengthening the resilience of the affected population and the local communities hosting them.