UNHCR urges continuous humanitarian aid in Niger despite escalation

Moscow: The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) on Tuesday urged all stakeholders in Niger to ensure continuous humanitarian assistance to people affected by the political crisis, displacement and post-coup sanctions.
“Given the rapidly growing needs, UNHCR calls on all actors in the region and beyond to ensure continuous life-saving assistance in Niger,” UNHCR Representative in Niger Emmanuel Gignac told a briefing in Geneva.
The sanctions imposed on Niger by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) after the recent coup coincided with an annual agricultural cross-season when food and commodity prices normally increase, pushing prices even higher than usual, the UN official said.
“The Sahel is experiencing a complex crisis marked by conflicts, inter-community tensions, climate shocks and insecurity. Niger has for some time been a hub for asylum-seekers and a crossroads for mixed migratory flows, sheltering refugees from neighboring countries,” Gignac said.
Niger is currently estimated to be hosting about 700,000 forcibly displaced people. The restrictions on movement imposed by the new authorities have hit the displaced population the hardest, leaving some of them unable to flee to other countries or follow their intended migration route as planned, the UNHCR official said.
A coup took place in Niger on July 26. President Mohamed Bazoum was ousted and detained by his own guard, led by Gen. Abdourahamane Tchiani. Following the coup, ECOWAS suspended all cooperation with Niger and threatened invasion if the putschists do not reinstate Bazoum. On August 18, ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs Abdel-Fatau Musah said that ECOWAS general staff chiefs had agreed on a date for the beginning of military intervention, but would not make it public.

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