20 April 2018

Cameroon: UNHCR Alarmed By Continuing Forced Returns of Nigerians By Cameroon

press release

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is today expressing its alarm at continuing forced returns to Nigeria of refugees and asylum-seekers from Cameroon's Far North Region.

Despite UNHCR's advocacy efforts and engagement with the authorities, 385 Nigerians have been forcibly returned from Cameroon since the beginning of 2018. The majority of them were returned during the last month.

More specifically, on 10 April, 160 Nigerian refugees and asylum-seekers were forcibly returned to Nigeria's Borno state - an area whose residents continue to face risks. They had been seeking refuge in Cameroon's Waza district since 2014.

On 17 April, an additional 118 asylum-seekers were forcibly returned to Borno state. They had arrived in Cameroon only two days earlier, having fled violence by Boko Haram.

The forced returns are in violation of the principle of no forced returns or non-refoulement. They are also a significant setback to progress previously achieved by Cameroon in granting asylum to Nigerian civilians fleeing Boko Haram violence in Borno State.

UNHCR appeals once again to the authorities in Cameroon to refrain from further forced returns and to ensure protection to those fleeing insecurity and persecution in Nigeria, in accordance with Cameroon's national and international obligations. In total, UNHCR has registered some 87,600 Nigerian refugees in the country.

While recognizing the legitimate national security concerns of States affected by the Boko Haram crisis, it is important that refugee protection and national security are not seen as being incompatible. Properly functioning screening, registration and asylum systems help safeguard host country security.

UNHCR reiterates its support to the government of Cameroon to ensure that all those seeking international protection have access to efficient screening and registration procedures, as well as appropriate reception arrangements.

Contacts:

In Dakar, Romain Desclous, desclous@unhcr.org, +221 786 396 385

In Geneva, Babar Baloch, baloch@unhcr.org, +41 79 513 95 49

In Geneva, Aikaterini Kitidi, kitidi@unhcr.org, +41 79 580 8334

More on This

Don't Send Nigerian Refugees Back to Boko Haram Violence - UN

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has urged the Cameroonian authority not to send Nigerian… Read more »

See What Everyone is Watching

Copyright © 2018 United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 700 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.