Niger has been hosting Malian refugees since the outbreak of the conflict in northern Mali in 2012. As of 31st January 2020, UNHCR Niger has 58,442 Malian refugees in its biometric database. They are living in 3 areas in the Tillabery region, in a refugee hosting area for nomadic refugees in the Tahoua region and in urban areas, including in the capital.
The gradual decrease of the security situation has caused the internal displacement of 82,489 persons in the same regions with rising numbers every day.
Finally, the presence of armed groups in Burkina Faso has triggered the cross-border displacement of 3,170 Burkinabe at the least in Tillaberi region and have added to rising numbers of internal displacement.
Due to rising insecurity in these areas, at least 4,442 Nigeriens, mainly women and children, fled to Mali. Most of them are settled in the Cercle of Anderamboukane and Menaka.
Operational strategy and main developments
Malian refugees are recognized on prima facie basis and enjoy a favorable protection environment with the right to settle where they wish, to access basic social services and the job market.
After almost 8 years of presence in Niger, UNHCR and the Government of Niger give priority to medium- and long-term solutions for Malian refugees that will promote social cohesion, self-reliance and a durable integration into national services systems.
The closure of the Malian refugee camps is a joint vision of the Government and UNHCR which is being accelerated in the current security context. UNHCR has relocated Malian refugees from the camps of Tabareybarey, Mangaize and Abala to the villages of Ayerou, Ouallam and Abala.
Thanks to the support of GIZ, UNHCR and the Government can give Malian refugees access to land in an urbanized site where Nigerien families will be settled as well. For 4000 vulnerable persons among the refugee and host population, a social house is part of the package.
With the support of the EU Trust Fund, UNHCR has set up a positive collaboration and partnerships with the Regional Directorates of Health, Education and Hydraulics, to ensure the inclusion of refugees into national mechanisms. Moreover, an extensive tripartite collaboration has been developed between the World Bank, the Government of Niger and UNHCR to render refugees more resilient thanks to improved access to basic public services and support for economic opportunities. With the support of ILO, Malian refugees will be included in a market-based livelihood intervention in the area of fish production and waste management.
A Tripartite Agreement between the Governments of Niger, Mali and UNHCR provides a legal framework for voluntary returns. UNHCR assists those who wish to return with a cash grant.
The IDP crisis is monitored by a broad community-based network and analysis, including in a regional context is carried out. Capacity building and coordinated efforts with humanitarian actors are ongoing to ensure an adequate response to the situation. National legislation for assistance and protection to IDPs based on the Kampala Convention is in place.