Plight of the refugees must no longer be ignored – STP calls for a summit on the refugee crisis in West Africa

Struggle against Boko Haram

© Flickr/ European Commission DG

The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) calls for an international summit to resolve the refugee crisis in West Africa, which was triggered by the struggle against Boko Haram in Nigeria. "The suffering of the people who fled from Boko Haram must no longer be ignored. Due to the dramatic shortage of food, the ignorant and idle authorities and the deportations, there are thousands of refugees who are living a life in hell," criticized Ulrich Delius, the STP's Africa-consultant, in Göttingen on Thursday. "The states of West Africa managed to agree on a joint military operation against the terrorist group Boko Haram within a few days, but they don't seem to care about the plight of the civilians who are on the run."

The STP condemns the fact that 3,000 people who fled from Boko Haram were deported from Niger to neighboring Nigeria yesterday, labeling the deportation as irresponsible and inhumane. "People who try to escape from the terror of Boko Haram and the arbitrary countermeasures of the security forces must be given shelter and offered protection", said Delius. The refugees were sent back in a three-day walk at temperatures of 40 to 50 degrees Celsius. At least a dozen people lost their lives.

The STP sends an urgent appeal to the European Union to provide more financial help for refugees who fled from Boko Haram. Up to two million of them are living in Nigeria itself – plus a total number of about 192,000 in Nigeria's neighboring countries. There are at least 800,000 children among the refugees.

This year, the United Nations and the international aid organizations will need about 174 million Euros to take care of all the refugees in Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad. "It's frightening to see how reluctant the international community is to provide adequate support for people who fled from Boko Haram and provide them with bare necessities," said Delius. Thus, only about four percent of the for the requested € 23 million Euros that the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) needs to take care of the internally displaced persons in northern Nigeria from have so far been covered. Also, the donor countries have so far only managed to keep 18 percent of the necessary humanitarian assistance for Nigeria and its neighboring countries available. "Given the global shock caused by Boko Haram's terror, the lack of financial assistance for the victims of violence is a scandal," said Delius.

Header Photo: Flickr/ European Commission DG