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Directions on Protection, Access and Solutions for IDPs and Returnees in North-Eastern Nigeria

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At a glance – Nigeria’s displaced in need of protection and solutions 8.5 million

Nigerians in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States will require humanitarian and humanitarian assistance in 2017.i The conflict and its spillover into neighboring Cameroon, Chad and Niger has resulted in a regional displacement crisis in the Lake Chad Region with over 1.8 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Nigeria, 87% of whom originate from Borno State, and nearly 200,000 refugees in Cameroon, Chad and Niger, along with the already sizeable internal displacement situations in these three main refugee hosting countries (Cameroon: 183,000; Chad: 89,000; and Niger: 121,000).

IDPs and refugees have started to return, a fact that has been observed in areas accessible for assessments. It is critical that these returns remain voluntary, occur in safety and in dignity, and that additional opportunities for solutions are identified and seized upon. At the same time, due to the ongoing conflict, new displacement occurs regularly, including to unsafe or inaccessible areas.

To address the complex protection dimension of the regional humanitarian crisis, the Governments of the Lake Chad Region – Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger – adopted the Abuja Action Statement on 8 June 2016 to galvanize a protection-focused approach to solutions for displaced persons.

The following three pillars build on the Abuja Action Statement, and serve as a basis for a range of essential protection actions which collectively aim to have a transformative impact on the protection environment and the realization of solutions for the displaced in North-Eastern Nigeria:

Changing Dynamics: Opportunities for Solutions

Ensuring voluntariness, safety and dignity as determining factors in shifting towards a comprehensive solutions approach for displaced populations. Informed choice is essential to the realization of sustainable solutions.
Opportunities for solutions focusing on voluntary returns will be prioritized, while other alternatives will be facilitated as appropriate.

At Stake: Critical Protection Needs

Improved physical security; freedom of movement and humanitarian access; prevention of and response to sexual and gender based violence , as well as protection of children from violence, exploitation and abuse, including children coming out of armed groups; access to targeted psychosocial support to persons; resolution of housing, land and property concerns are prioritized protection needs.

Excluded: Empowerment and Social Cohesion

Exclusion, marginalization and extreme poverty are among the root causes fueling conflict and violence, creating protection risks and impeding the realization of durable solutions.
Gender equality, inclusion, empowerment, community reconciliation and social cohesion are central to restoring rights, reducing violations and supporting solutions.