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UN to Cameroon: Stop turning back Nigerian refugees fleeing from Boko Haram

UN to Cameroon: Stop turning back Nigerian refugees fleeing from Boko Haram
April 21
12:38 2018

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has urged the Cameroonian authorities not to send Nigerian refugees back to the Boko Haram violence they fled from.

Nigerian refugees and asylum-seekers who fled Boko Haram violence have been “forced” to return to the country, despite previous warnings against such.

At least 385 Nigerians refugees and asylum-seekers had been “forcibly returned” from Cameroon since the beginning of 2018, the majority of them in March, including 278 in April.

In total, 87,600 Nigerian refugees have been registered by the UN agency in the country.

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“We appeal once again to the authorities in Cameroon to refrain from further forced returns and to ensure protection to those fleeing insecurity and persecution in Nigeria,” UNHCR said on Saturday.

“This is in accordance with Cameroon’s national and international obligations.

“The forced returns are in violation of the principle of no forced returns or non-refoulement.

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“They are also a significant setback to progress previously achieved by Cameroon in granting asylum to Nigerian civilians fleeing Boko Haram violence.”

The agency also said it recognised legitimate national security concerns of states affected by the Boko Haram crisis, adding it is important that refugee protection and national security are not seen as being incompatible.

“Properly functioning screening, registration and asylum systems help safeguard host country security,” it said.

UNHCR reiterated its support to Cameroon in ensuring that all those seeking international protection have access to efficient screening and registration procedures, as well as appropriate reception arrangements.

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