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2014 UNHCR country operations profile - Cameroon

| Overview |

Working environment

  • The overall security situation in Cameroon is calm. However, due to ongoing instability in the region, Cameroon has been receiving refugees and asylum-seekers from neighbouring countries, mainly the Central African Republic (CAR), Nigeria and Chad.

  • In the East and Adamaoua regions, refugees from the CAR are spread over more than 308 sites across 50,000 square kilometres. This logistical challenge is further aggravated by poor road conditions and makes access to refugees difficult for UNHCR and partners.

  • Cameroon currently hosts over 100,000 people of concern to UNHCR. The country has always kept its borders open to asylum-seekers, and is signatory to all major international and regional legal instruments on refugees. In that context, Cameroon adopted a Law Defining the Legal Framework for Refugee Protection in July 2005, which was brought into application by a decree, signed in November 2011. Two commissions on eligibility and appeals have been created and their members nominated, but they are not yet operational. Cameroon has not yet signed the 1954 and 1961 Statelessness Conventions.

  • Economically, Cameroon is among the group of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries and ranked 150th out of 187 countries in the 2013 UNDP Human Development Index.

  • The Government of Cameroon provides protection and asylum for people of concern to UNHCR through the allocation of land for the Nandoungué and Minawao refugee camps. It also facilitates access of refugee children to local schools and health centres, with the support of UNHCR.

People of concern

The main groups of people of concern planned for in 2014 under the Cameroon operation are: refugees from the CAR, who since 2006 have been fleeing insecurity due to high levels of banditry and other criminal acts in the north-west region of their country; a group of refugees who began to arrive from the CAR in March 2013, following a new wave of political instability and insecurity; and Nigerian refugees fleeing fighting between insurgents and Government forces. The country hosts urban refugees and asylum-seekers, mostly in Yaoundé and Douala, from 28 countries of origin, including the CAR, Chad, the Republic of the Congo (Congo), Côte d'Ivoire and Rwanda.

Planning figures

UNHCR 2014 planning figures for Cameroon
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 101,560 101,560 93,770 93,770 85,590 85,870
Refugees Central African Rep. 94,450 94,450 86,470 86,470 78,250 78,250
Chad 1,540 1,540 1,640 1,640 1,690 1,790
Nigeria 1,760 1,760 1,820 1,820 1,870 1,870
Various 960 960 1,060 1,060 1,080 1,260
Asylum-seekers Central African Rep. 1,330 1,330 1,300 1,300 1,260 1,260
Chad 460 460 450 450 440 440
Guinea 240 240 230 230 230 230
Various 820 820 800 800 770 770

| Response |

Needs and strategies

In 2014, UNHCR will continue to focus on providing protection and assistance to refugees from the CAR located in over 300 sites in the East and Adamaoua regions. Prioritized needs include improving the health status of the population, ensuring access to education, and increasing or maintaining water supplies.

For refugees and asylum-seekers in urban areas, the major objectives will be to improve their access to health facilities and education, and to support voluntary repatriation in safety and dignity. Concerning durable solutions, the Office, together with partners, will make particular efforts to develop income-generating and livelihood activities for refugees from the CAR, in order to support their potential for local integration.

In an effort to reduce statelessness, the Office aims to conduct advocacy activities on the issuance of birth certificates, support civil registration centres and sensitize parents to the importance of birth registration.

Resource constraints are likely to primarily affect the following sectors: access to health care, education, civil registration, and self-reliance, particularly in the East and Adamaoua regions (CAR refugees) and in the far north region (Nigerian refugees). These are among the poorest areas in the country, lacking basic infrastructure, such as schools, health-care centres and water points. In urban settings, the quality of health care for refugees may also be affected by resource limitations.

| Implementation |

Coordination

The Office collaborates with governmental departments, UN agencies, other international organizations and NGOs.

UNHCR will work closely with the Ministry of External Relations in supporting the National Eligibility and Appeals Commissions to take full responsibility for refugee status determination, registration procedures and refugee documentation and will continue collaboration with the Ministry of Women Empowerment and Family and the Ministry of Social Affairs.

In the East and Adamaoua regions, partnerships with the services of the Governor and decentralized State departments will be strengthened, and cooperation with IFRC and NGO partners continued.

In urban areas, UNHCR will provide strategic leadership on international protection and the delivery of assistance for refugees and other people of concern through its implementing partners.

In 2014, cooperation with UN Women, UNFPA, UNICEF and WFP in the fields of nutrition, education, civil registration, child protection, reproductive health and SGBV will continue.

2014 UNHCR partners in Cameroon
Implementing partners
NGOs: Adventist Development and Relief Agency, Africa Humanitarian Action, Association de Lutte contre les Violences faites aux Femmes, Catholic Relief Services, FAIRMED, International Medical Corps, International Relief and Development, Plan - Cameroon, Première Urgence - Assistance Médicale Internationale
Others: IFRC
Operational partners
Government agencies: Governorate of East and Adamaoua regions, Ministry of Basic Education, Ministry of Public Health, Ministry of Water and Energy, Ministry of Economy, Planning and Regional Development, Ministry of External Relations, Ministry of Social Affairs, Ministry of Women Empowerment and Family

| Financial information |

With new needs emerging from the recent refugee influxes from the Central African Republic and Nigeria, two supplementary appeals have been launched in 2013. Because of these new situations, the assessed financial requirements are higher in 2014 than in previous years and are set at USD 25 million.

Source: UNHCR Global Appeal 2014-2105


UNHCR contact information

UNHCR Representation in Cameroon
Style of Address UNHCR Representative in Cameroon
Street Address Quartier Omnisport
Rue du Stade N°1370
Yaounde Cameroon
Mailing Address PO Box 7077
Yaounde Cameroon
Telephone +237 222 029 54/ 22 21 35 91
Facsimile +237 222 105 44
Email cmrya@unhcr.org
Time Zone GMT + 1:00
Working Hours
Monday:AM: 8:30 -13:00, PM: 14:00- 17:30
Tuesday:AM: 8:30 -13:00, PM: 14:00- 17:30
Wednesday:AM: 8:30 -13:00, PM: 14:00- 17:30
Thursday:AM: 8:30 -13:00, PM: 14:00- 17:30
Friday:AM: 8:30 - 14: 30
Saturday:
Sunday:
Public Holidays 03 January 2011, New Year's Day
11 february 2011, National Youth Day
22 April 2011, Good Friday
02 May 2011, Labour day
20 May 2011, National feast day
02 June 2011, Ascension
15 August 2011, Asumption
31 August 2011, eid Al Fitr
07 November 2011, Eid Al Adha
26 December 2011, Christmas
Comments Field offices
- UNHCR sub Office Bertoua
- UNHCR Field Office Garoua
- UNHCR field Office Meiganga
-UNHCR Douala Extension
The UNHCR Sub-Office at Bertoua
Style of Address The UNHCR Head of Sub-Office at Bertoua
Street Address Kolbikon - Bertoua
Mailing Address PO Box 7077 Yaoundé - Cameroon
Telephone +41 22 739 7671
Facsimile No Fax service
Email cmrya@unhcr.org
Time Zone GMT + 1:00
Working Hours
Monday:AM: 8:30-13:00, PM: 14:00-17:30
Tuesday:AM: 8:30-13:00, PM: 14:00-17:30
Wednesday:AM: 8:30-13:00, PM: 14:00-17:30
Thursday:AM: 8:30-13:00, PM: 14:00-17:30
Friday:AM: 8:30-14:30
Saturday:
Sunday:
Public Holidays 03 January 2011, New Year's Day
11 february 2011, National Youth Day
22 April 2011, Good Friday
02 May 2011, Labour day
20 May 2011, National feast day
02 June 2011, Ascension
15 August 2011, Asumption
31 August 2011, eid Al Fitr
07 November 2011, Eid Al Adha
26 December 2011, Christmas
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Statistical Snapshot*
* As at mid-2013
  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 Cameroon [1]
Refugees [2] 105,462
Asylum Seekers [3] 4,603
Returned Refugees [4] 0
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPS) [5] 0
Returned IDPs [6] 0
Stateless Persons [7] 0
Various [8] 0
Total Population of Concern 110,065
Originating from Cameroon [1]
Refugees [2] 12,681
Asylum Seekers [3] 3,112
Returned Refugees [4] 0
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPS) [5] 0
Returned IDPs [6] 0
Various [8] 0
Total Population of Concern 15,793

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Crisis in the Central African Republic

Little has been reported about the humanitarian crisis in the northern part of the Central African Republic (CAR), where at least 295,000 people have been forced out of their homes since mid-2005. An estimated 197,000 are internally displaced, while 98,000 have fled to Chad, Cameroon or Sudan. They are the victims of fighting between rebel groups and government forces.

Many of the internally displaced live in the bush close to their villages. They build shelters from hay, grow vegetables and even start bush schools for their children. But access to clean water and health care remains a huge problem. Many children suffer from diarrhoea and malaria but their parents are too scared to take them to hospitals or clinics for treatment.

Cattle herders in northern CAR are menaced by the zaraguina, bandits who kidnap children for ransom. The villagers must sell off their livestock to pay.

Posted on 21 February 2008

Crisis in the Central African Republic

Silent Success

Despite being chased from their homes in the Central African Republic and losing their livelihoods, Mbororo refugees have survived by embracing a new way of life in neighbouring Cameroon.

The Mbororo, a tribe of nomadic cattle herders from Central African Republic, started fleeing their villages in waves in 2005, citing insecurity as well as relentless targeting by rebel groups and bandits who steal their cattle and kidnap women and children for ransom.

They arrived in the East and Adamaoua provinces of Cameroon with nothing. Though impoverished, the host community welcomed the new arrivals and shared their scant resources. Despite this generosity, many refugees died of starvation or untreated illness.

Help arrived in 2007, when UNHCR and partner agencies began registering refugees, distributing food, digging and rehabilitating wells as well as building and supplying medical clinics and schools, which benefit refugees and the local community and promote harmony between them. The Mbororo were eager to learn a new trade and set up farming cooperatives. Though success didn't come immediately, many now make a living from their crops.

Mbororo refugees continue to arrive in Central African Republic - an average of 50 per month. The long-term goal is to increase refugees' self-reliance and reduce their dependency on humanitarian aid.

Silent Success

2014: CAR refugees attacked as they flee to Cameroon

Each week 10,000 Muslims cross into eastern Cameroon to escape the violence consuming the Central African Republic (CAR). Many new arrivals report that they have been repeatedly attacked as they fled. The anti-Balaka militiamen have blocked main roads to Cameroon, forcing people to find alternate routes through the bush. Many are walking two to three months to reach Cameroon, arriving malnourished and bearing wounds from machetes and gunshots.

UNHCR and its partners have established additional mobile clinics at entry points to provide emergency care as refugees arrive. The UN refugee agency is also supporting public health centres that have been overwhelmed by the number of refugees and their condition.

Meanwhile, UNHCR has relocated some 20,000 refugees who had been living in the open in the Garoua Bouai and Kenzou border areas, bringing them to new sites at Lolo, Mborguene, Gado and Borgop in the East and Adamwa regions.

Since the beginning of the year, Cameroon has received nearly 70,000 refugees from CAR, adding to the 92,000 who fled in earlier waves since 2004 to escape rebel groups and bandits in the north of their country.

UNHCR staff members Paul Spiegel and Michele Poletto recently travelled to eastern Cameroon and have the following photos to share from their iPhone and camera.

2014: CAR refugees attacked as they flee to Cameroon

The Mbororo: A way of life at riskPlay video

The Mbororo: A way of life at risk

Systematic attacks on settlements in Central African Republic have forced more than 60,000 people from the Mbororo tribe to flee to neighbouring Cameroon. UNHCR is trying to help these nomadic herdsmen restart their lives.
Cameroon: A Silent CrisisPlay video

Cameroon: A Silent Crisis

In Cameroon, more than 60,000 refugees have fled Central African Republic after systematic attacks by armed gangs. Despite the atrocities, this crisis has gone largely unnoticed by the international community - perhaps because it is overshadowed by the conflict in Sudan's Darfur region. UNHCR is trying to address the enormous needs.