19 Dez Tripartite Agreement Between Nigeria Cameroon And Unhcr
Raessa Touraire Ngou, Reporting Assistant: NGOU@unhcr.org – 237 693 01 73 80; The Nigerian Minister of the Interior thanked Cameroon and its people for welcoming Nigerian refugees and for the continued solidarity with refugees who fled following the Boko Haram insurgency. Cameroon`s Minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralization (MINATD) stressed that after the signing, the two countries also urgently needed to focus on reducing areas on both sides of the border affected by poverty and the lack of basic social services. The two ministers also welcomed UNHCR`s efforts to assist Nigerian refugees in Cameroon`s Far North region. UNHCR`s representative in Cameroon, Kouassi Lazare Etien, recalled that “there is still a long way to go, but the signing of the agreement reveals the real desire of Cameroon and Nigeria to protect refugees by facilitating the process for those who want to return to security and dignity, with the support of UNHCR.” Sadiya Umar Farouq, Nigeria`s Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, said the refugees would leave following a tripartite agreement in March 2017 on the voluntary repatriation of Nigerian refugees living in Cameroon. Cameroon, Nigeria and UNHCR signed the agreement. UNHCR`s Representation in Nigeria will continue to monitor the situation in the return areas to ensure that, once initiated, these returns will be made in accordance with the terms of the tripartite agreement. The agreement clearly states that repatriation should only take place on a voluntary basis and that refugees who do not choose to return will not be obliged to return to Nigeria. Children play in the Minawao camp, home to 62,000 Nigerian refugees. They fled Boko Haram violence in their country. On 2 March 2017, the governments of the Republic of Cameroon and the Federal Republic of Nigeria signed a tripartite agreement with UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Relief and Works Agency, on the voluntary repatriation of Nigerian refugees living in Cameroon. The agreement clearly states that repatriation can only be done on a voluntary basis and that refugees who do not choose to return will not be forced to return to Nigeria. According to the UN agency, people sleep outside next to their few possessions.
In the absence of cooking fuel, many burn plastic. Sanitation is also a major problem, as what is available cannot serve the number of people on site. There is little separation between the washing areas of the clothes and the washes. With little or no drainage system at water collection points and the rainy season coming up, the risk of waterborne disease is high. “We welcome this agreement,” said Kouassi Lazare Etien, UNHCR`s representative in Cameroon. “The signing of this agreement demonstrates the real desire of Cameroon and Nigeria to find a lasting solution for refugees ready to return to safety and dignity with UNHCR support.”