The COVID-19 pandemic represents an extraordinary and unprecedented emergency for States in West and Central Africa. In response, Governments are taking necessary and legitimate measures to prevent the spread of the virus and to protect populations. These measures are not specific to refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs), stateless or returnees and bear a general scope. However, some of these measures may have a disproportionate impact on displaced population due to their specific needs and vulnerabilities.
UNHCR is committed to working in close concert with national authorities and other relevant actors to ensure that all COVID-19 related prevention and response initiatives at the national level include persons of concern, while at the same time closely monitoring the application of these measures to ensure that people are not exposed to specific protection risks.
This note aims at identifying the direct and indirect impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the protection of persons of concern to UNHCR in West and Central Africa. It also presents some key elements of UNHCR response.