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Niger

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

d. Freedom of Movement, Internally Displaced Persons, Protection of Refugees, and Stateless Persons

The constitution and law provide for freedom of internal movement, foreign travel, emigration, and repatriation, and the government respected most of these rights.

Abuse of Migrants, Refugees, and Stateless Persons: International organizations reported incidents of early marriage among internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Diffa Region not living in camps.

The government cooperated with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other humanitarian organizations in providing protection and assistance to IDPs, refugees, asylum seekers, or other persons of concern. UNHCR-managed sites hosted approximately 61,000 Malian refugees in Tillabery and Tahoua regions. UNHCR also managed one camp in Diffa Region for refugees and one camp in Diffa Region for IDPs. More than 92 percent of IDPs in Diffa Region, however, resided outside of formal camps.

In-country Movement: Security forces at checkpoints throughout the country monitored the movement of persons and goods, particularly near major population centers, and sometimes demanded bribes. Transportation unions and civil society groups continued to criticize such practices.

INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSONS

More than 180,000 individuals fled Boko Haram-instigated violence in parts of Diffa Region. These IDPs resided mainly in host communities in the region. Heavy seasonal rains left several thousand individuals homeless in July and August. The government worked with foreign donors, international aid organizations, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to supply these IDPs with shelter, food, water, and other necessities. The government engaged in efforts to promote the safe voluntary return or resettlement of IDPs.

IDPs in Diffa Region were vulnerable to armed attacks and unlawful recruitment of child soldiers by Boko Haram.

International humanitarian organizations reported that intercommunal conflict between farmers and herders and between rural communities and bandits, especially in northern Tillabery Region, resulted in displacement. Competition for scarce resources–spurred by desertification and population growth–resulted in periodic conflict between farmers and herders. Incursions by armed rebels from Mali and sporadic acts of banditry on main roads also caused residents to flee.

PROTECTION OF REFUGEES

Access to Asylum: The law provides for the granting of asylum or refugee status, and the government has established a system for providing protection to refugees.

An estimated 61,000 registered Malian refugees remained in the country with prima facie refugee status. Refugees lived primarily in three camps (Tabareybarey, Mangaize, and Abala) and two official “refugee zones” (Tazalite and Intekan) where the refugees could settle freely with their livestock and thus maintain their traditional pastoral way of life. The government and humanitarian organizations provided assistance to refugees. In addition, approximately 10,000 refugees lived in spontaneous settlements along the border with Mali and had limited access to humanitarian assistance.

Conflict between Boko Haram and the Nigerian military in northeastern Nigeria triggered a flow of thousands of persons into Niger. Diffa Region hosted more than 300,000 persons displaced by the conflict in recent years.

Temporary Protection: The government provided temporary protection to an unknown number of individuals who may not qualify as refugees under the 1951 Refugee Convention or its 1967 protocol.

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U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future