UN Migration Agency, UNHCR visit migrant transit centres in Algeria

IOM, the UN Migration Agency, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) delegations in Algeria were invited to participate as observers in visits to the transit centres of Zéralda (Algiers) and Tamanrasset (South of Algeria). This mission observed the conditions under which a group of 297 Nigerien nationals was transferred from the cities Algiers to Tamanrasset. This return convoy was organized by the Algerian authorities from 28 June to 3 July 2018.

As a follow-up to this transfer, IOM and UNHCR were informed about the onward transportation of 355 Nigeriens to in Ghezzam for their return to Niger in cooperation with the Government of Niger.

The mission provided an opportunity for UNHCR and IOM teams to visit these two centres for the first time, as well as other transit facilities along the Trans Saharan route in Laghouat, Ghardaïa, and Ain Salah. Both agencies received detailed information from the Algerian authorities on services provided in these centres and witnessed the Algerian coordination mechanisms amongst the various services and Ministries involved.

The mission also served as a framework for dialogue with the authorities.

UNHCR noted the need for enhanced cooperation in the South of Algeria and for the setting up of procedures for the identification and referral of persons in need of international protection.

IOM highlighted its readiness to further support the Algerian authorities to set up identification and referral mechanisms for migrants in particularly vulnerable situations or with specific needs requesting assistance throughout the country with a specific focus on the Southern border areas.

IOM and UNHCR believe it is crucial to keep a positive dialogue and call for enhanced coordinated efforts with the Algerian authorities to address the acute challenges and constraints in the management of mixed flows in Algeria.

UNHCR reaffirmed the need to strengthen the asylum system and the protection environment for asylum-seekers and refugees in Algeria in line with applicable international refugee and human rights principles and standards.

IOM is committed to further supporting coordinated efforts in view of providing direct assistance to migrants, including via its Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration framework, and the promotion and facilitation of international and regional dialogue on migration governance.

Both agencies remain confident that this dialogue will help move towards enhanced concerted efforts on migration and asylum issues in Algeria.

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