Refugees: Agreement Between the Republic Niger Government and the ORA

1995 PEACE AGREEMENT

Section V. Economic, Social, and Cultural Development 

Clause 19

In order to allow the freely consented return and the reinsertion of displaced persons, the Government, together with the ORA, encourages friendly countries and international humanitarian organisations concerned to establish on one hand reception and direction points, where the stay will be as brief as possible, and on the other hand reinsertion sites in which adequate social and economic activities will be developed.

Clause 20

In order to reinforce and to enlarge to the zone affected by the conflict activities already undertaken within the framework of urgency assistance concerning food, health and schooling foreseen in the Peace Agreement of Ouagadougou, October 9 1994, the Government, together with the ORA and concerned populations, engages to establish, on the basis of available statistics on displaced persons and of those already at home, the real needs of urgent help to be introduced in a global programme. This programme will be submitted by the Government to donors at a timely moment.

Implementation History

1995

Minimum Implementation

Around 20,000 Tuaregs fled Niger.1 According to UNHCR country data sheets, 200 refugees returned to Niger in 1995.2 

  • 1. "U.N. appeals for cash to repatriate refugees from Mali, Niger," Deutsche Presse-Agentur, June 18, 1996.
  • 2. "2002 UNHCR Statistical Yearbook Country Data Sheet – Niger," UNHCR, 2004, http://www.unhcr.org.
1996

Minimum Implementation

On 6 March 1996, two tripartite agreements were signed at the Ministry of External Relations. The first agreement was signed between Niger, Burkina Faso and the UNHCR on the repatriation of Niger refugees from Burkina Faso. Speaking at the occasion, Burkina Faso Security Minister Yero Boli said the signing ceremony was part of the traditional exchange and consultations between the two countries to strengthen cooperation in the management of displaced persons under the best conditions. He then defined the guidelines of the repatriation operation insisting on the commitment of all the parties involved.3

  • 3. "Niger; Agreements signed to repatriate Niger refugees," BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, March 7, 1996.
1997

Minimum Implementation

On 10 March 1997, the president of the Algerian Red Crescent, Said Ayachi, and the president of the Niger Red Cross signed an agreement concerning the return of Niger refugees on the Algerian border to their country, whilst the other was related to the drawing up of a cooperation program between the two bodies for a renewable period of five years.4

According to UNHCR country data sheets, 403 refugees returned to Niger in 1997.5

  • 4. "Agreement signed on return of Niger refugees from Algeria," BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, March 12, 1997.
  • 5. "2002 UNHCR Statistical Yearbook Country Data Sheet – Niger," UNHCR, 2004, http://www.unhcr.org.
1998

Intermediate Implementation

According to UNHCR country data sheets, 3,830 refugees returned to Niger in 1998.6

While repatriation took place in 1998 this was very much delayed as compared to what had been envisioned in the accord. “In Niger there was also a delay in the repatriation process as envisaged in the 1995 peace accords because of the lack of internal political security across the country and the boycott by certain donor governments following the military coup in January 1996 led by Colonel Ibrahim Baré Maïnassara. The repatriation did not actually start until 1997 but internal difficulties in Niger made the situation worse. The February 1998 mutiny by soldiers in Agadez, who were demanding payment of several months’ salary arrears, delayed the departure of the first convoy sent to Algeria to assist the voluntary repatriation of 10,000 Tuaregs.”7 

Repatriation of Niger refugees from Algeria started on March 10, 1998. In the first group, 130 Niger refugees who have been living in designated camps in Guezzam and Djanet in southern Algeria returned to Niger. UNHCR and the Algerian Red Crescent supervised the first voluntary repatriation.8

On 31 March 1998, the UNHCR-Algeria, had said that 258 refugees from Niger were repatriated.9

According to a news report, 400 more refugees left Algeria on April 14, 1998.10 About 360 refugees, who were at the reception centre of Ain Gazzam, Tamanrasset Province, returned to Niger voluntarily on April 30, 1998). The office added that nearly 1,000 other refugees are still at the same centre. They will return to their country voluntarily in two groups on 15 and 25 May 1998. This operation was the fourth of its kind after nearly 860 refugees returned to their country in similar operations.11Within the framework of the voluntary return, about 500 Nigerois refugees returned for their original country, Niger on 15 May 1998.12 The last group of about 500 refugees (120 families) returned to Niger on 25 May 1998. They moved from El Hayat center in Ain Gazam. The operation was overseen by the Algerian Red Crescent in coordination with the UNHCR who provided all the means to transport these families to the Niger border.13 On 6 June 1998, some 400 refugees from Niger, representing 100 families who were based in the southeastern province of Tamanrasset 1,900 km from Algiers and Ain Guezzam returned to Niger.14 

  • 6. "2002 UNHCR Statistical Yearbook Country Data Sheet – Niger."
  • 7. "Niger: les réfugiés attendront...," Jeune Afrique, March 3-9, 1998.
  • 8. "Algeria: Repatriation Of Niger Refugees to Begin on 11th March," BBC Monitoring Middle East – Political, March 10, 1998.
  • 9. "Algerian daily reports repatriation of 256 refugees to Niger," BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, April 2, 1998.
  • 10. "Algeria: More Niger Refugees Return Home," BBC Monitoring Middle East – Political, April 14, 1998.
  • 11. "Algeria: About 360 Refugees Repatriated to Niger, More To Follow," BBC Monitoring Middle East – Political, May 1, 1998.
  • 12. "Some 500 Niger refugees return home from Algeria," BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, May 18, 1998.
  • 13. "Algeria: Unhcr Operation to Repatriate Refugees to Niger Nears Completion," BBC Monitoring Middle East – Political, May 24, 1998.
  • 14. "Niger: Some 400 Refugees Return From Algeria," BBC Monitoring Africa – Political, June 8, 1998.
1999

Intermediate Implementation

According to UNHCR country data sheets, 14 refugees returned to Niger in 1999.15

It was reported that the European Union gave Niger 285,000 euro worth of humanitarian aid, which was is expected to directly benefit some 70,000 people and 150,000 others indirectly, particularly in Tahoua and Agadez, which hosted the largest population of refugees, displaced people and people whose villages were destroyed.16

  • 15. "2002 UNHCR Statistical Yearbook Country Data Sheet – Niger."
  • 16. "Niger; Niger Gets EU Humanitarian Aid," Africa News, September 2, 1999.
2000

Full Implementation

According to UNHCR country data sheets, 1 refugee returned to Niger in 2000.17 Perhaps most of the refugees who were interested to return to Niger voluntarily repatriated in 1998. 

  • 17. "2002 UNHCR Statistical Yearbook Country Data Sheet – Niger."
2001

Intermediate Implementation

No information on refugees available. Perhaps most of the refugees who were interested to return to Niger voluntarily repatriated in 1998. 

2002

Intermediate Implementation

United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) map published in 2002 suggests that 15,000 Niger nationals were evacuated and returned to Niger.18 

2003

Minimum Implementation

No further developments observed. 

2004

Intermediate Implementation

No further developments observed.