Concern mounts over forced return of Nigerians fleeing violence

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Minawao refugee camp, northern Cameroon. It is the largest formal refugee camp in the region for Nigerian asylum-seekers. Photo: UNHCR/A. Bahaddou

The forced return of thousands of Nigerians seeking refuge in neighbouring countries has raised the concern of the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR.

UNHCR fears the deportations may curtail protection and humanitarian aid for the asylum-seekers.

Maria Carlino reports.

The UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, has expressed concern over the deportation of thousands of people from north-east Nigeria who have sought safety across the country's borders.

UNHCR said this includes 925 Nigerians sent home from Cameroon and Chad in mid-July and 50 Nigerians screened by the agency at the Gourounguel transit camp on 3 August.  

UNHCR fears the forced returns will reduce the amount of space where Nigerians fleeing their nation's conflict can seek a safe haven.

In a statement, the agency reminded governments of their duty to protect asylum-seekers fleeing human rights violations and not return them to their persecutors.

Since a multinational force from West Africa began fighting the Boko Haram militants across Nigeria's borders earlier this year, violence in and around the country has escalated.

Maria Carlino, United Nations.

Duration: 53″


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