20. Januar 2013 · Kommentare deaktiviert für 2013 UNHCR country operations profile – Mali situation (Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso) · Kategorien: Mali, Sahara · Tags:


Working environment

The context

Since clashes between armed rebels and government forces erupted in northern Mali in early 2012, hundreds of thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes. The hostilities have added to the woes of the civilian population, already severely affected by the drought and food insecurity that prevails in the Sahel region. The situation deteriorated further in March, when elements of the Malian armed forces carried out a coup. The Tuareg rebel group, Mouvement National de Libération de l’Azawad (MNLA), and its Islamist allies seized this opportunity to declare the secession of northern Mali. However, the Islamists soon overwhelmed the MNLA and took control of most of the north, including cities such as Timbuktu.

Basic services are no longer provided to the population, and violations of human rights have been reported. As a result of the presence of heavily armed groups, northern Mali is largely inaccessible to humanitarian actors. This situation triggered the internal displacement of an estimated 204,000 while more than 200,000 Malians have found refuge in neighbouring Mauritania, Niger and Burkina Faso. UNHCR has had to sharply increase its presence in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso.

UNHCR 2013 planning figures for the Mali situation [1]
Total 293,840 105,000 460,000 180,000
1. Planning figures for Malian refugees in Mauritania can be found on the Mauritania page on this website.
Malian refugees in Burkina Faso 40,000 40,000 50,000 50,000
Malian refugees in Niger 50,000 50,000 60,000 60,000
IDPs in Mali 203,840 15,000 350,000 70,000

Main objectives and targets for 2013
Fair protection processes and documentation
The level of individual documentation is increased.

  • In Burkina Faso, 10,000 identity and travel documents will be issued to all refugees aged 18 and above.

Civil registration and civil status documentation is strengthened.

  • In Burkina Faso, birth registration certificates will be provided to 50 per cent of children under 12 months.

The quality of registration and profiling is improved or maintained.

  • Registration level 2 in Burkina provides more accurate statistics for assessment of the needs.

Reception conditions are improved.

  • In Mali, the Government is supported to provide psycho-social assistance and legal counselling to IDPs.

Security from violence and exploitation

The protection of children is strengthened.

  • In Burkina Faso, 18.5 per cent of the children are considered at risk. Material support is given to them to meet their basic needs. Specialized medical care and supplementary nutrition programmes as well as clothing, housing, wheelchairs are also provided.

The risk of SGBV is reduced and the quality of response is improved.

  • Referral mechanisms are put in place to support and improve identification of cases through local non-governmental organizations.

Basic needs and essential services

The health status of the population is improved.

  • In Burkina Faso, all refugees have access to primary health care services.
  • In Mali, 56 per cent of the IDPs have access to primary health care services.

The services for people with specific needs are strengthened.

  • In Niger and Burkina Faso, all refugees with specific needs will receive support.

The population has optimal access to education.

  • In Burkina Faso, 40 teachers are trained and 600 refugee children receive education support.
  • The community is sensitized to allow for the enrolment of 4,000 children at primary school.
  • In Niger, some 6,700 refugee children have access to primary school and 2,800 to secondary school.

Shelter and infrastructure are established, improved and maintained.

  • In Burkina Faso, 8,600 emergency shelters are upgraded by providing a more durable covering material while some 4,000 mud block shelters are constructed.
  • In Niger, 2,600 emergency tents and shelters are gradually replaced by tents constructed with local materials.

The population lives in satisfactory conditions of sanitation and hygiene.

  • In Burkina Faso, the roofs of 6,700 sanitary facilities/latrines and over 6,400 showers will be covered.
  • In Niger, 1,400 new sanitary facilities will be constructed, 450 replaced and 3,700 maintained.

The supply of potable water is increased or maintained.

  • In Burkina Faso, at least 15 litres of water per person per day will be provided, and 57 water management committees are established.
  • In Niger, all refugees living in the camps are provided with 20 litres of water per person per day. Nutritional well-being is improved.
  • In Niger, all refugee children less than 2 years of age benefit from supplementary feeding programmes to control anaemia and other micronutrient deficiencies.

Durable solutions

The potential for voluntary return is realized.

  • In Mali, 57 per cent of returning IDPs with specific needs receive assistance.

Strategy in 2013

UNHCR’s strategy and activities for Malian refugees in Mauritania are described in a separate chapter.

As the size of the population of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Mali and the number of people fleeing the country look set to grow in 2013, UNHCR and its partners have been working on contingency plans in case of a possible military intervention. UNHCR will also intensify advocacy with the Government to ensure that IDPs have effective protection and that their well-being is ensured.

UNHCR’s approach to the Mali situation is two-pronged: protection and assistance of refugees in neighbouring countries, and coordination of humanitarian actions for IDPs in Mali. For IDPs, UNHCR will lead the protection, emergency shelter, and camp coordination and camp management clusters.

Following months of intense emergency work, UNHCR in Niger and Burkina Faso will now turn to helping local authorities to settle refugees in safe sites, ensure that their essential needs are covered, and provide them with documentation. The provision of water, sanitation and hygiene, health, education, protection from sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), and child protection will be the main priorities.

UNHCR has been working to achieve adequate standards of assistance and protection in spite of many challenges. In doing this, it has enjoyed the support of other UN agencies and partners whose experience has been honed by working to counter the effects of chronic food insecurity in Niger and Burkina Faso.

In Mali, where the cluster approach was launched to ensure that the humanitarian community mobilizes enough resources to address the sizeable displacement in the north, UNHCR will establish a network of local actors able to provide accurate information on IDP needs, protection incidents and population movements. In addition, it will strengthen the capacity of the Government and humanitarian actors to work with IDPs and survey their needs using a community-based approach.

Maximum priority will be given to advocacy for the protection of displaced persons and the prevention of human rights abuses.


Insecurity in northern Mali, which threatens to destabilize the whole region, will remain a major constraint. The areas which have seen maximum displacement are in border regions, which are under-developed, possess very poor infrastructure and are difficult to reach, particularly during the rainy season. The Islamist element and the fragmentation of power among different armed groups add complexity to the political landscape in the North.

Operations in Mali may be hindered by political instability and limitations on humanitarian access due to the lack of security made worse by the proliferation of arms. Logistical constraints have also been imposed by the harsh climatic conditions. These are characterized by chronic drought generating food insecurity and flooding following the rainy season. The high incidence of epidemic diseases, and extremely poor infrastructure outside the main towns, are other constraints.


The „Mali situation“ involves Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Mauritania. In 2012, UNHCR’s operations in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger were under the responsibility of the Senegal Regional Office. In order to ensure adequate coordination and effective response to the outflux of Malian refugees, the Regional Representative in Dakar was appointed in February as the Regional Refugee Coordinator for the Malian crisis operation.

Throughout the year, the borders of Burkina Faso, Niger and Mauritania have remained open to people seeking international protection; there were no reports of refoulement or of people being turned away.

UNHCR’s formerly minimal presence in Niger and Burkina Faso has now grown into a large, multi-sectoral operation. In Mali, where the operation was focused on an older group of Mauritanian refugees and urban refugees of various nationalities, UNHCR’s main activity will be related to its cluster-lead role. UNHCR leads the protection cluster, and also participates in anti-SGBV and child protection activities led by UNFPA and UNICEF, respectively.

In Niger and Burkina Faso, UNHCR will aim to increase the supply of potable water in order to meet international standards, ensure proper camp management and coordination, improve access to primary health care and education, and provide people of concern with adequate shelter. It will also assist them with basic and domestic items and work closely with WFP to address food insecurity.

The quality of registration and profiling must be of a high standard in order to identify the protection needs of the most vulnerable people among groups of refugees and IDPs. Anti-SGBV programmes will be given priority, as will activities related to family reunification. In a post emergency phase, it will be important to implement projects that promote peaceful coexistence in local communities and improve refugees‘ self-reliance.

Financial information

UNHCR’s financial requirements for its operations related to Malian refugees and IDPs in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger will amount to near USD 120.1 million in 2013.

At the time of publication, UNHCR’s 2013 financial requirements for Burkina Faso were under revision in light of the decrease in refugee figures in the country. Adequate funding allows the Office to respond to the essential needs of Malian refugees and IDPs, as well as build the Governments‘ capacity in the areas of refugee protection and IDP rights.

Source: UNHCR Global Appeal 2013 Update

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