Dakar, Senegal (June 2nd 2016)- Within the framework of the follow-up of the programs developed for a good humanitarian coverage in Western and Central Africa, the Regional working group for protection held its bimonthly meeting on Thursday, June 2nd at the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Dakar.
This meeting is held while security threats linked to Jihadists groups have been on going for months. The aim of the meeting was to monitor activities on a national and regional plan, in order to protect the vulnerable populations such as refugees, women, young girls, and children. To that effect, numerous reports were made by different organizations member of the working group to show on the global situation on the activities made in the sub- region.
Concerning the situation of the migratory flows in West Africa, UNHCR estimates that there is one million of stateless persons, according to a study made by the ECOWAS. According to an UNHCR study, this trend leads to violation of human rights, insecurity, trafficking in human beings and slows down the development of the sub- region. To prevent statelessness, the UNHCR recommends states to elaborate mechanisms at the time of births, which can protect the populations to determine their nationality, and anticipate the cessation.
It also indicates that approximately 22 000 persons obtained a nationality thanks to the declaration of Abidjan, the Ministers of Interior and Justice of the member states of the ECOWAS, on February 15th 2015.
In line of the role of the civil society, the regional coordinator of REPAOC emphasized on the importance of making a pilot project on two countries, and a study by country, in order to define the groups in situation of statelessness, and a formal identification of the stateless.
It is worth reminding that the REPAOC co-leads with UNHCR in the implementation and monitoring of the elaborated programs.
Concerning the basin of Lake Chad situation, UNHCR plans a tool of analysis on the voluntary character, and the protection dialogue, from June 6th to June 8th 2016 in Abuja, Nigeria. In Mali, UNFPA indicates that 4 out of 10 women have been victims of sexual and physical violence throughout their life, and that the problem of early marriages has aggravated with the crisis situation in Cameroon. 6.6 percent of women in these countries are victims of sexual abuses.
Nevertheless, the UNFPA advises of a joint mission was made in Mali with UNOCHA, and a training on strengthening multi-sectorial coordination mechanisms occurred in Maroua, Cameroon. Concerning the protection of childhood, UNICEF focused more on helping the refugees in the numerous states of the sub-region.
The Inter- Agencies protection working group of West and Central Africa has been established, on one hand to keep an eye on the integration of questions related to the protection, into the analysis made on the humanitarian situation of the region, and to contribute to the production of strategic documents. On the other hand, to support the teams that are sent on the field of humanitarian operations, in various countries by a common plea, and a reinforcement of capacity.
Lead by UNHCR, the working group consists of at least 15 humanitarian partners spread between the United Nations Agencies, the Federation of the Red Cross, and NGOs that also have a regional coverage.
With an experience of ten years in humanitarian action, the regional working group for protection has been revitalized in 2014 during a retreat attended by all of its members.