From June 14 to 19, 2019 three lawyers of the Sciabaca and Oruka projects and a cultural mediator, carried out a second study visit to Niger to further investigate the findings the first mission carried out in November 2018.
Based on the findings of its first study visit, ASGI’s Sciabaca project published the report “The Emergency Transit Mechanism program and the resettlement from Niger. Legal framework and critical issues” . The report describes the resettlement procedures from Niger and the Emergency Transit Mechanism from Libya to Niger, highlighting the most critical legal issues at stake.
The second study visit further focused on evacuations from Libya and the resettlement procedure from Niger (Emergency Transit Mechanism, or “ETM”), through interviews with institutional actors and migrants involved in the ETM. The possibility of promoting strategic litigation was also explored.
Interviews paid particular attention to issues such as delays in the procedure, consequences of UNHCR’s negative feedback on refugee status recognition, exclusion of refugees from resettlement to Europe, reception conditions in Niger.
Some Eritrean, Somali and Ethiopian citizens have formed a committee and demonstrated outside UNHCR’s headquarters and the French and American embassies, claiming their right to be transferred to safe third countries and the right to know their request’s status. They then issued a statement, in which they identify the reasons for this delay and ask UNHCR for more effective actions to uphold their right to asylum.
ASGI noted that Nigerian women victims of trafficking, although they may be recognized as refugees, had clear difficulties in accessing the procedure. Interviews showed that often they are not informed of the possibility of seeking asylum.
ASGI also studied the situation of Eritrean refugees who have been in Niger waiting for a decision on their asylum request, and collected from them powers of attorney to initiate strategic litigation.