IOM Calls for Urgent Action to Prevent Escalation of Crises in Niger
Geneva – The political turmoil that began in late July in Niger has exacerbated existing vulnerabilities, leaving thousands of migrants, internally displaced persons and host communities in increased need of protection and assistance requiring immediate action, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said today.
Border closures and airspace restrictions have triggered transformations in migration patterns, reducing outward migration and heightened internal movements, driven by the urgent need for individual security.
More than 710,000 individuals, including refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced persons, are displaced in Niger. Roughly 5,000 stranded migrants primarily from West and Central Africa receiving assistance at IOM’s seven transit centres are awaiting voluntary return assistance, while an additional 1,400 await help outside these centres.
“IOM strongly advocates for the authorities to establish a humanitarian corridor to enable the Organization to organize the safe, dignified and voluntary return of vulnerable migrants stranded in Niger to their countries of origin,” said IOM Regional Director Christopher Gascon.
“The establishment of a humanitarian corridor will also facilitate the delivery of aid to conflict-affected areas of Niger.”
IOM’s operations are currently constrained by limited funding, necessitating strategic allocation to bolster services for migrants within the transit centres and to support vulnerable host communities. The Organization underscores the importance of international collaboration and financial support to prevent the situation from escalating into a full-blown humanitarian crisis, and effectively address the immediate, pressing needs of migrants and displaced populations while upholding their safety and dignity.
IOM remains committed to supporting the most vulnerable populations in Niger, where 4.3 million people, mainly women and children, are dependent on aid.
The Organization's efforts encompass awareness-raising activities on social cohesion and the risks of irregular migration, medical and psychosocial support, and socio-economic empowerment for migrants, internally displaced individuals, and host communities. IOM's community stabilization programme continues to promote resilience among vulnerable communities, including women and youth, through activities that create employment opportunities and improve livelihoods. IOM’s field staff are tirelessly working to provide aid, particularly in areas where connectivity is limited, ensuring that assistance reaches those who need it the most.
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