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2014 UNHCR country operations profile - Algeria

| Overview |

Working environment

  • Algeria is both a transit and destination country for mixed migratory movements. Every year, over 1,000 asylum-seekers approach the UNHCR office in Algiers seeking protection, adding to a growing group of urban refugees. Although the country is a party to the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol, the absence of a national asylum law and a functioning national body to adjudicate asylum requests has made it necessary for UNHCR to carry out refugee status determination (RSD). As these individuals are not legally recognized in Algeria, they cannot work and therefore have limited self-reliance opportunities.

  • The Sahrawi refugees living in five camps in Tindouf are almost totally dependent on humanitarian assistance, as opportunities for income generation are scarce. UNHCR will continue to provide protection and basic services based on a planning figure of 90,000 vulnerable refugees.

  • The broader political turmoil in parts of North Africa and the Middle East, compounded by the effects of a challenging socio-economic context in the country, has led the Government to further prioritize security concerns. Meanwhile, the United Nations has put in place additional security measures affecting UNHCR's delivery capacity.

  • The situation in Mali has not led to mass population movements into Algeria. However, a few hundred Malians have reportedly settled in a camp at the border that is managed by the Algerian Red Crescent, while others have found refuge with host families. UNHCR stands ready to offer assistance, as needed, depending on the evolution of the situation in northern Mali in 2014. Due to the ongoing conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic (Syria), some Syrian nationals have also started seeking asylum in Algeria in recent months.

  • The Algerian Government continues to provide access to education and public health care for Sahrawi refugees in Tindouf. Security measures have been put in place for refugees and humanitarian staff of United Nations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) operating in the camps.

People of concern

The main groups of people of concern for whom activities are planned in 2014 under the Algeria operation are: some 90,000 vulnerable Sahrawi refugees who have been living in a protracted situation since 1975, in camps located in Tindouf; a growing number of individual refugees and asylum-seekers in urban areas, coming primarily from sub-Saharan countries; and people who have fled the recent crises in Mali and in Syria.

Planning figures

UNHCR 2014 planning figures for Algeria
TYPE OF POPULATION ORIGIN Dec 2013 Dec 2014 Dec 2015
Total in country of whom assisted
by UNHCR
Total in country of whom assisted
by UNHCR
Total in country of whom assisted
by UNHCR
Total 95,590 91,570 96,640 92,640 97,050 93,050
1. The Government of Algeria estimates that there are 165,000 refugees in the camps.
Refugees Dem. Rep. of the Congo 50 50 40 40 40 40
Palestinian 4,020 20 4,040 40 4,060 60
Various 100 100 260 260 250 250
Western Sahara [1] 90,000 90,000 90,000 90,000 90,000 90,000
Asylum-seekers Cameroon 100 100 100 100 100 100
Mali 220 220 400 400 300 300
Syrian Arab Rep. 800 800 1,500 1,500 2,000 2,000
Various 300 300 300 300 300 300

| Response |

Needs and strategies

In 2014, the main needs planned for are related to the provision of international protection and basic assistance and services for vulnerable Sahrawi refugees, as well as for refugees and asylum-seekers in urban areas, mainly Algiers, within the mixed migration context.

UNHCR and its partners will continue to undertake activities for the refugees in Tindouf, including protection, community services, education, water, sanitation, hygiene, health, food, nutrition, shelter, energy, transportation and logistics. Communication with refugees will be improved through a regular field presence, home visits, and monitoring activities. The organization will also advocate for access to administrative and legal institutions and access to courts and social support mechanisms. Protection from violence and exploitation of refugees in the camps, in particular sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), response measures and the provision of psycho-social support, will continue to be a priority in 2014.

In the absence of any immediate political solution, the Office will continue to provide humanitarian support for some 90,000 vulnerable Sahrawi refugees.

For the urban refugees and individual asylum-seekers, UNHCR will pursue its discussions with the Government of Algeria on the adoption of an asylum law and continue ongoing advocacy to improve the protection space for those who have already been recognized by UNHCR as refugees. To respond to a growing number of requests, UNHCR increased its RSD capacity in 2013. For recognized refugees, efforts will be made to find solutions for vulnerable individuals, in particular for unaccompanied minors. In the meantime, UNHCR will work with Government partners and NGOs to offer care for unaccompanied minors seeking asylum and referral pathways for any who are rejected.

Recent developments within the North-African and Sahel regions, combined with more restrictive asylum policies and measures adopted by EU countries, have increased the number of asylum-seekers who stay in Algeria for longer periods of time. In this context, it is anticipated that the number of vulnerable individuals in need of protection, including victims of human trafficking and unaccompanied minors, will considerably increase in 2014. UNHCR and its partners will focus on assisting the vulnerable cases.

| Implementation |

Coordination

UNHCR's main partner in Algeria is the General Directorate for Legal and Consular Affairs (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) and the Bureau Algérien pour les Réfugiés et les Apatrides (BAPRA, Ministry of Foreign Affairs).

Concerning refugees in urban areas, the main counterpart is Triangle Génération Humanitaire which is responsible for implementing the housing programme.

For the Sahrawi refugee operation, monthly coordination meetings involving UN agencies, NGOs and Sahrawi refugee representatives will continue in 2014, together with sectoral meetings on food, nutrition, health, water and security management. UNHCR will continue to coordinate with the local authorities, refugee representatives and operational partners, notably with WFP on joint assessment monitoring, plans of action, nutrition surveys and food distribution and monitoring; with UNICEF on education, health (immunization) and programmes for young people; and with Oxfam on shelter and food security.

UNHCR will continue to engage with the UN country team, and other joint UN mechanisms, including on funding issues.

2014 UNHCR partners in Algeria
Implementing partners
Government agencies: Bureau Algérien pour les Réfugiés et les Apatrides (Ministry of Foreign Affairs), General Directorate for Legal and Consular Affairs (Ministry of Foreign Affairs), Ministry of Internal Affairs
NGOs: Association Femmes Algériennes pour le Développement, Caritas Algérie, Croissant Rouge Algérien, Enfants Réfugiés du Monde, Info Comme Jeunes, Movement for Peace, Disarmament and Liberty, Réseau Algérien pour la protection des Droits de l'Enfant, Solidaridad International, Spanish Red Cross, Triangle Génération Humanitaire
Operational partners
NGOs: Medico International Germany, Médicos del Mundo, Oxfam
Others: European Union, International Rescue Committee, Italian Refugee Council, Sahrawi Red Crescent, Spanish Agency for International Cooperation, UNICEF, WFP

| Financial information |

In recent years, the financial requirements for UNHCR's operation in Algeria have seen an overall increase, from USD 18.7 million in 2010 to a revised 2013 budget of USD 28.2 million, reflecting an increase in the needs of the Sahrawi refugees and also a rise in the number of asylum-seekers in the country. With regard to the protracted situation of Sahrawi refugees, until a political solution can be reached, the provision of assistance will have to be continued. The level of vulnerability of refugees is increasing as the remoteness and harsh environmental conditions in the camps offer limited self-reliance opportunities.

In 2014, the financial requirements for Algeria are set at USD 32.7 million, an increase of USD 4.5 million when compared to the revised 2013 budget. This increase will allow UNHCR to respond to additional critical needs arising from the recent decrease of bilateral aid programmes in the country. Predictable and flexible funding will help the operation to cover the life-saving activities and also to manage the prioritized range of needs in a more effective manner.

Source: UNHCR Global Appeal 2014-2105


UNHCR contact information

The UNHCR Representation in Algeria
Style of Address The UNHCR Representative in Algeria
Street Address 128 chemin Bachir El-Ibrahimi, Poirson,, El-Biar, 16000 Alger, Algeria
Mailing Address Boîte Postale 444, Hydra, Alger, Algeria
Telephone 213 21 92 40 83
Facsimile 213 21 92 40 93
Email algal@unhcr.org
Time Zone GMT + 0
Working Hours
Monday:8:30 - 17:00
Tuesday:8:30 - 17:00
Wednesday:8:30 - 17:00
Thursday:8:30 - 17:00
Friday:
Saturday:
Sunday:8:30 - 17:00
Public Holidays 01 January 2014, New year
14 January 2014, El Mawlid Ennabaoui
01 May 2014, labour Day
06 July 2014, Independence Day
28 July 2014, Eid Al-Fitr
29 July 2014, Eid Al-Fitr
05 October 2014, Eid Al-Adha
06 October 2014, Eid Al-Adha
02 November 2014, Achoura
25 December 2014, Christmas Day
The UNHCR Sub-Office in Tindouf
Style of Address The UNHCR Head of Sub-Office at Tindouf
Street Address 89 - 90 Rue Moussani, Tindouf, Algeria
Mailing Address P.O. Box 323, Tindouf, Algeria
Telephone 213 49 92 3555
Facsimile 213 49 924229
Email algti@unhcr.org
Time Zone GMT + 1
Working Hours
Monday:8:00 - 17:00
Tuesday:8:00 - 17:00
Wednesday:8:00 - 17:00
Thursday:8:00 - 17:00
Friday:
Saturday:
Sunday:8:00 - 17:00
Public Holidays 01 January 2014, New year
14 January 2014, El Mawlid Ennabaoui
01 May 2014, labour Day
06 July 2014, Independence Day
28 July 2014, Eid Al-Fitr
29 July 2014, Eid Al-Fitr
05 October 2014, Eid Al-Adha
06 October 2014, Eid Al-Adha
02 November 2014, Achoura
25 December 2014, Christmas Day
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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 Algeria [1]
Refugees [2]
More info 94,150
According to the Government of Algeria, there are an estimated 165,000 Sahrawi refugees in the Tindouf camps.
Asylum Seekers [3] 1,815
Returned Refugees [4] 1
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPS) [5] 0
Returned IDPs [6] 0
Stateless Persons [7] 0
Various [8] 0
Total Population of Concern 95,966
Originating from Algeria [1]
Refugees [2] 3,662
Asylum Seekers [3] 4,268
Returned Refugees [4] 1
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPS) [5] 0
Returned IDPs [6] 0
Various [8] 10
Total Population of Concern 7,941
Government Contributions to UNHCR
Contributions since 2000
YearUSD
2014
More info 100,000
As at 2 July 2014
2013 100,000
2012 100,000
2011
More info 100,000
Total contribution in USD: 100,000 [rank: 43]
Unrestricted contribution (USD): 100,000 [rank: 31]
Donor ranking per GDP: 41
Donor ranking per capita: 43
2010
More info 100,000
Total contribution in USD: 100,000 (rank: 40)
Unrestricted contribution (USD): 100,000 (rank: 29)
Donor ranking per GDP: 42
Donor ranking per capita: 48
2009
More info 100,000
Total contribution in USD: 100,000 (rank: 41)
Unrestricted contribution (USD): 100,000 (rank: 29)
Donor ranking per GDP: 44
Donor ranking per capita: 48
2008 60,000
2007 60,000
2006 60,000
2005 60,000
2004 50,000
2003 50,000
2002 50,000
2001 50,000
2000 50,000

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Western Sahara Family Visits

Emotions are running high in the Sahara desert as families split for nearly three decades by conflict over sovereignty of the Western Sahara Territory are being briefly reunited by a UNHCR family visit scheme.

Living in five windswept and isolated camps around Tindouf in south-western Algeria for the last 28 years, the refugees have been almost totally cut off from their relatives in the Territory. So when the UN refugee agency launched its five-day family visit scheme in March this year, there were tears of joy as well as apprehension at the prospect of reunion.

The visit scheme is proving extremely popular, with more than 800 people already having visited their relatives and another 18,000 signed up to go. In addition to the family visit scheme, the UN refugee agency has opened telephone centres in some of the camps, creating another channel through which long-lost family members can make contact.

Photos taken in June 2004.

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People from Sahrawi refugee camps in Algeria and from Western Sahara Territory meet for a cultural seminar in the Azores Islands as part of a confidence building measures programme.