Nigeria + 3 more

Background Paper - Side-event on Response and Recovery towards Durable Solutions Co-facilitated by the Government of Nigeria, UNHCR and OCHA, 23 February 2017. Oslo, Norway

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Background

The side-event is aimed at drawing increased attention to the need to provide regional longer-term solutions as people displaced by the protracted conflict in Nigeria’s north-east return to their areas of origin from other localities or refuge in Cameroon, Chad and Niger. The Boko Haram insurgency and its spill over into neighbouring Cameroon, Chad and Niger have caused the displacement of over 2.3 million people in the region, of whom 1.77 million are internally displaced in Nigeria, while some 201,600 Nigerian refugees have sought asylum in Cameroon, Chad and Niger. The refugeehosting countries also have sizeable IDP populations (Cameroon: 198,889; Chad: 103,876; and Niger: 121,391). Conflict continues to cause new and secondary displacement. At the same time, spontaneous returns of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and of refugees have been observed in north east Nigeria, including in some newly recovered areas. These returns have not always been voluntary, safe or dignified. Access to food and basic services is considerably limited and often result in negative coping mechanisms. Livelihoods, including from cross-border trade, continue to be severely constrained, and the social cohesion among communities has been badly damaged. The situation is further compounded by the fragile socio-economic context of the Sahel, which includes chronic poverty, harsh climatic conditions, poor infrastructure and limited access to basic services.

Challenges

The search for solutions in Nigeria’s north-east is taking place against the backdrop of an environment which presents serious challenges, including insecurity and ongoing conflict. Infrastructure and access to basic services have suffered significant damage, while cross-border trade continues to be limited. Those returning have little or no resources to restart their lives owing to the depredations of conflict and prolonged displacement. The vast number of IDPs still remain in host communities with growing needs, risks and vulnerabilities. The UNHCR / World Bank joint assessment “Forced Displacement by the Boko Haram conflict in the Lake Chad Region” showed that Boko Haram related forced displacement also has a specific imp

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