Panic over closure of Nigeria refugee camps


Borno state refugee camp, Nigeria

from EMEKA OKONKWO in Abuja, Nigeria
ABUJA, (CAJ News) PLANS to shut down camps hosting thousands of people displaced by Islamist insurgents in northeast Nigeria are a further blow to the terror victims.

The Borno State government is planning the closures amid fears this is creating further risks and hardships.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has appealed to authorities to suspend the camp closures, which it believes fails to guarantee displaced people’s rights.

“It is unconscionable to uproot people who have already lost everything to the conflict without dignified and sustainable alternatives,” said Anietie Ewang, Nigeria researcher at HRW.

“The rights and well-being of displaced people and refugees should be the paramount consideration as the authorities navigate the northeast conflict and its impact.”

The government has declared all displacement camps in Maiduguri will be shut down by December 31, a move to impact on 1,8 million people.

However, the said resettlement and camp closures so far have taken place without adequate notice or information and left many people worse off.

The Boko Haram conflict, now in its 12th year, has displaced over 2,9 million people in Nigeria’s northeast and hundreds of thousands to neighboring countries.

Most of the internally displaced people are in Borno state, the epicentre of the conflict.

They live in host communities and the camps.

Ewang said the current process of relocation and camp closures fell short of what is legally and morally required to protect and assist internally displaced people.

“The authorities should suspend the current process and invest in collective efforts with relevant stakeholders to ensure sustainable, dignified, and durable solutions for those affected,” the activist said.

– CAJ News


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