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2014 UNHCR country operations profile - Niger

| Overview |

Working environment

  • Since 2012, Malian refugees have enjoyed a protective asylum environment in Niger with prima facie refugee status and unhampered access to the asylum territory and to basic social services such as health and education. The Government of Niger also facilitates refugees' access to water, firewood and other natural resources.

  • The declaration of a state of emergency in northern Nigeria in May 2013, and the military offensive launched against an insurgent group, have caused a new refugee crisis in the south-east of Niger. The potential for further massive influxes of Nigerians through multiple crossing points represents a major operational challenge that could further strain existing resources.

  • In Niger, UNHCR and its humanitarian partners are operating in a challenging environment with poor infrastructure, chronic drought, seasonal flooding, extreme heat and violent winds and rains, as well as outbreaks of epidemics. Niger is ranked last in UNDP's 2013 human development index.

  • The volatile security situation in Niger remains worrisome. With terrorist attacks being reported in 2013 in Arlit, Agadez and Niamey, the security context limits movements and requires expensive mitigation measures, such as armed escorts for international humanitarian workers almost everywhere outside the capital.

People of concern

UNHCR's main populations of concern in 2014 will be: Malian refugees living in camps, nomadic pasture areas or urban settings; and Nigerian refugees, most of whom are staying with host families in the Diffa region.

Planning figures

UNHCR 2014 planning figures for Niger
TYPE OF POPULATION ORIGIN Dec 2013 Dec 2014 Dec 2015
Total in country of whom assisted
Total in country of whom assisted
Total in country of whom assisted
Total 60,280 60,280 62,270 62,270 38,260 38,260
Refugees Chad 120 120 120 120 120 120
Mali 47,000 47,000 40,000 40,000 25,000 25,000
Nigeria 4,000 4,000 12,000 12,000 12,000 12,000
Various 160 160 150 150 140 140
Others of concern Niger 9,000 9,000 10,000 10,000 1,000 1,000

| Response |

Needs and strategies

UNHCR's strategy will focus on providing protection and assistance as well as on durable solutions.

In terms of protection and assistance, the Office will encourage the self-reliance of refugees and help support the resilience of the host population. A main feature of the 2014 protection strategy will be the introduction of biometric registration to better monitor population movements and the delivery of assistance. In Niger, UNHCR will work in four different settings: in camps, nomadic hosting areas, urban areas, and with host communities. In order to adapt to the specific context and needs of each group,

UNHCR will scale up innovative responses and initiatives that were successfully piloted last year. These include a socio-economic profiling with the aim of better understanding the needs of refugees, especially Tuaregs; a refugee protection and assistance centre for urban refugees in Niamey; a programme to provide domestic energy for refugee households; and a cash voucher programme, that presently only covers food, but could include non-food items and cash transfers in the future.

With regard to durable solutions, UNHCR will put in place a repatriation programme for those who wish to return to Mali when conditions for a return permit this.

| Implementation |


UNHCR is part of the Humanitarian Country Team in Niger and is the lead agency of the multi-sector working group for refugees. The Office will continue to lead and coordinate all refugee matters in support of its main counterpart in the country, the Commission nationale d'éligibilité au statut de réfugié, which is part of the Ministry of the Interior. It will also work with a wide range of partners including the Government, other UN agencies, NGOs and the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and continue pursuing opportunities for engaging with the private sector. To facilitate the voluntary repatriation of Malian refugees in a safe and dignified manner, regional coordination mechanisms will be established.

2014 UNHCR partners in Niger
Implementing partners
Government agencies: Commission nationale d'éligibilité au statut de réfugié
NGOs: ACTED, Afrique Secours international, Akarass, CADEV, International Rescue Committee, Islamic Relief International, Oxfam, Plan-Niger, Save the Children
Others: IOM
Operational partners
Government agencies: Cellule de coordination de l'aide humanitaire (Prime Minister's Office), Ministère de la santé publique, Ministère de l'éducation nationale, Ministère de l'environnement et de l'assainissement, Social safety net cell (Prime Minister's Office)
NGOs: Médecins sans Frontières - France
Others: Qatar Red Crescent Society, Red Cross of Niger, UNFPA, UNICEF, WFP, WHO

| Financial information |

With the foreseen return of some 5,000 Malian refugees to Mali, the 2014 financial requirements for UNHCR's operation in Niger have been set at USD 41.5 million, a decrease of approximately USD 11 million compared to the revised 2013 budget of USD 52.9 million.

Source: UNHCR Global Appeal 2014-2105



Statistical Snapshot*
* As at January 2014
  1. Country or territory of asylum or residence. In the absence of Government estimates, UNHCR has estimated the refugee population in most industrialized countries based on 10 years of asylum-seekers recognition.
  2. Persons recognized as refugees under the 1951 UN Convention/1967 Protocol, the 1969 OAU Convention, in accordance with the UNHCR Statute, persons granted a complementary form of protection and those granted temporary protection. It also includes persons in a refugee-like situation whose status has not yet been verified.
  3. Persons whose application for asylum or refugee status is pending at any stage in the procedure.
  4. Refugees who have returned to their place of origin during the first six months of 2013. Source: Country of origin and asylum.
  5. Persons who are displaced within their country and to whom UNHCR extends protection and/or assistance. It also includes persons who are in an IDP-like situation.
  6. IDPs protected/assisted by UNHCR who have returned to their place of origin during the first six months of 2013.
  7. Refers to persons under UNHCR's statelessness mandate.
  8. Persons of concern to UNHCR not included in the previous columns but to whom UNHCR extends protection and/or assistance.
  9. The category of people in a refugee-like situation is descriptive in nature and includes groups of people who are outside their country of origin and who face protection risks similar to those of refugees, but for whom refugee status has, for practical or other reasons, not been ascertained.
The data are generally provided by Governments, based on their own definitions and methods of data collection.
A dash (-) indicates that the value is zero, not available or not applicable.

Source: UNHCR/Governments.
Compiled by: UNHCR, FICSS.
Residing in Niger [1]
Refugees [2] 57,661
Asylum Seekers [3] 84
Returned Refugees [4] 0
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPS) [5] 0
Returned IDPs [6] 0
Stateless Persons [7] 0
Various [8] 35,166
Total Population of Concern 92,911
Originating from Niger [1]
Refugees [2] 733
Asylum Seekers [3] 432
Returned Refugees [4] 0
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPS) [5] 0
Returned IDPs [6] 0
Various [8] 35,166
Total Population of Concern 36,331

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Malian refugees flee for safety to Niger

Thousands of Malian families have arrived in Niger since mid-January, fleeing fighting between a rebel Tuareg movement and Malian government forces in northern Mali. Refugees are living in makeshift settlements along the border, exposed to the sun and wind by day, and cold at night. UNHCR has started distributing relief assistance and is planning to open camps in safer areas further away from the border. UNHCR's Helene Caux met with some the refugees who all expressed their desire to return to their country once peace prevails.

Malian refugees flee for safety to Niger

Malians still fleeing to Niger

Malian refugees continue to arrive in Niger, fleeing fighting and general insecurity and political instability in their country. At the Mangaizé refugee site in northern Niger, some 3,000 refugees live in difficult conditions, bearing soaring temperatures during the day and wondering when they will be able to return home. The scarce water and food resources in the arid Sahel country also present a huge challenge for the refugees and local communities. More than 40,000 Malians have found refuge in Niger since January, when fighting erupted between a rebel Tuareg movement and Malian government forces. More than 160,000 Malians have arrived in Niger, Burkina Faso and Mauritania, while 133,000 are displaced within their country. High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres visited Niger, including Mangaizé, in early May with World Food Programme Executive Director Ertharin Cousin to help focus world attention on the crisis and to seek help for the displaced.

Malians still fleeing to Niger

Barbara Hendricks visits Malian refugees in Burkina Faso

UNHCR Honorary Lifetime Goodwill Ambassador Barbara Hendricks met with Malian refugees in Damba Camp on July 6, 2012, in northern Burkina Faso. The acclaimed soprano is using the visit to highlight the plight of tens of thousands of refugees who have fled from conflict in their country this year and are living in camps or settlements in neighbouring countries. As of early July, more than 198,000 Malians had fled to Mauritania (88,825), Burkina Faso (65,009) and Niger (44,987). At least 160,000 were estimated to be displaced within Mali, most in the north.

Barbara Hendricks visits Malian refugees in Burkina Faso

Malian refugees in Niger struggle to rebuild their lives

Some 60,000 Malian civilians have found refuge in Niger this year, fleeing fighting in northern Mali as well as political instability in the whole country. Most are hosted in three official camps - Tabareybarey, Mangaize and Abala. A significant number are living in spontaneous settlements. All are located in harsh arid countryside where life is tough despite the assistance provided by UNHCR and other aid agencies.

Children are the most vulnerable group, with some suffering from acute malnutrition. Older children are looking forward to resuming their education in a foreign land. Meanwhile, some 6,000 refugees are living in the Niger capital, Niamey, where many of them look for work so that they can send money back to relatives still in Mali.

Meanwhile, the future remains uncertain. Many people fear that continuing fighting inside Mali could lead to an accelerated exodus of refugees from Mali into neighbouring countries, including Niger.

The following photographs by UNHCR photographer Hélène Caux depict life for the refugees in Tabareybarey and Mangaize camps as well as in Niamey.

Malian refugees in Niger struggle to rebuild their lives

Thousands Start Afresh in Niger After Fleeing Nigeria

In May 2013, the Nigerian government, responding to a surge in violence in the north-east of the country, declared a state of emergency in the volatile states of Borno, Adawama and Yobe. Many people fled to neighbouring Niger's Diffa region and to the Far North Region of Cameroon. Fresh violence in January this year has forced thousands more to flee to both countries. UNHCR photographer Hélène Caux visited the towns of Bosso and Diffa in Niger's Diffa region shortly before the latest influx. She met some of the Nigerian refugees who had fled earlier waves of violence across the border. They told her of the violence they had seen, the losses they had suffered and their attempts to lead as normal a life as possible in Diffa, including sending their children to attend school. They are grateful to the communities that have welcomed and helped them in Niger.

Thousands Start Afresh in Niger After Fleeing Nigeria

Niger: Flight from Nigeria
Play video

Niger: Flight from Nigeria

People escaping the fighting between the Nigerian army and Boko Haram rebels get a friendly welcome in Niger.

Niger: New Arrivals in AroyouPlay video

Niger: New Arrivals in Aroyou

Among the more than 300,000 forcibly displaced Malians, more than 2,600 found shelter in Aroyou, Niger. Despite their ordeal, they took part in recent events to mark World Refugee Day.
Niger: New Camp in NigerPlay video

Niger: New Camp in Niger

A new tented refugee camp is under construction in Mangaizé, Niger. UNHCR is putting up family tents to replace the makeshift shelters that people have been living in for weeks.
Niger: A Silent CrisisPlay video

Niger: A Silent Crisis

The heads of UNHCR and the World Food Programme meet refugees from Mali in Niger's Mangaizé Camp and urge the international community to help them.
Niger: Flight from MaliPlay video

Niger: Flight from Mali

Since the troubles began in their country last January, more the 40,000 Malians have taken refuge in Niger.
Niger: Aid arrivesPlay video

Niger: Aid arrives

Desert Safety: Tuaregs and other refugees flee fighting and banditry in Mali; UNHCR provides emergency assistance
Niger: Going InlandPlay video

Niger: Going Inland

In Sinegodar, near the Mali -Niger border, thousands of people have arrived with little more than they could carry. The urgency is to move them to safer ground.
Niger: Escaping the Conflict in Mali Play video

Niger: Escaping the Conflict in Mali

Hundreds of families have crossed the border from Mali into Niger to escape the fighting in the northern part of the country.