UNHCR Nigeria: Protection

UNHCR works with key government counterparts, stakeholders as well as parliament on policy and legislative matters regarding refugees, internally displaced and stateless persons to provide legal assistance, issuance of identity cards, provision of shelter, non food items , livelihood assistance, psychosocial support, registration, voluntary repartriation and protection monitoring. UNHCR believes that the absence of a proper protection response leads to abuse of human rights of the individuals and exposes persons of concern to negative coping mechanisms such as child labour, family separation, threat of violence, Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) related incidents amongst others. Every human being deserves a life free from persecution and discrimination. We work hard to help thousands in Nigeria rebuild broken lives.


UNHCR in partnership with the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) works to promote the basic human rights of IDPs across the North East states of Nigeria. UNHCR works to address gaps in the protection needs of IDPs and returnees requiring legal assistance and counselling, across a full spectrum of issues such as domestic violence flagged through protection monitoring and vulnerability screenings. The NBA with support technical support from UNHCR provides a broad range of serives raging from legal representation in court, legal advice and counselling, documentation assistance amongst others.


UNHCR is mandated to provide international protection to persons of concern. As such, together with States, we share the responsibility for ensuring that persons of concern are protected against sexual and gender-based violence. UNHCR is committed to ending all forms of SGBV by working to prevent SGBV before it happens and responding to the needs of all survivors, who can be women and girls, as well as men and boys. UNHCR is working across the North East states to reduce cases of SGBV by putting a number of in place a number of preventive measures in place such as standard operation procedures for camps as well sensitizing adolescent girls on reproductive health. UNHCR engages in several capacity building initiatives such as trainings for partners, Nigerian Immigration ervice, military and civilian joint taskforce on SGBV related matters. UNHCR in partnership with the Intenational Rescue Committee offers psycho-social support for victims of SGBV.


UNHCR Child Protection experts work with the Nigerian authorities to promote good practices on best interest assessment and determination for children. According to assessments conducted by UNHCR and protection actors, Unaccompanied and Separated children (UASC) are disproportionately vulnerable to risks of violence, abuse and exploitation by fighting groups as a result of separation from families, limited access to services, and lack of protection from abuse, violence and exploitation. Through strong advocacy, technical and financial support to the government at all levels, UNHCR has been able to provide appropriate care and services to displaced and returnee children at risk of abuse, exploitation in the North East. Also specific measures such as reception, identification and documentation of Unaccompanied and Seperated children have been put in place to prevent, report and respond to cases of violence and abuse against children in displacement and at their return points / community. This also enables proper protection response, such as family reunification, psychosocial support and alternative care for the Unaccompanied children. UNHCR in collaboration with the Borno State government has established Community based child protection networks consisting of community and religious leaders duly trained on issues relating to child protection to ensure a protective environment for affected children. UNHCR continuously mainstreams Child protection into all activities carried out within internal displaced persons camp setting and host communities.


In Nigeria, UNHCR registration experts are actively engaged in the registration of refugee returnees in Borno state and asylum seekers in Cross River state. This exercise is done along side key Government agencies i.e. the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants & Internally Displaced Persons and the Nigerian Immigration Service. UNHCR also provides technical support to the Government through trainings and provision of registration materials with a view of strengthening their capacity. Registration is a continuing process to record essential information at the time of initial displacement, as well as any subsequent demographic and other changes in the refugee population. In a bid to reduce statelessness, UNHCR in partnership with the National Identity Card Management Commission is issuing out identity cards to registered returnees in North East Nigeria, this provides them with a form of identification. Registration of Refugees and asylum seekers is a protection tool used to protect refugees from arbitrary arrest, forcible recruitment, detention and refoulement. Registration assists UNHCR identify persons with specific needs and the most velnerable to ensure appropriate and immediate intervention is administed.