Operation: Côte d'Ivoire
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|2019 year-end results|
|2,200||sectoral cash grants or vouchers were provided to returnees|
|1,000||people of concern were issued identity documents, with assistance from UNHCR|
|500||returnees received shelter support and 100 long-term/permanent shelters were provided to returnees|
|400||refugees received cash grants and 700 refugees with specific needs received non-cash assistance|
|200||people of concern with specific needs received special assistance in accessing shelter and livelihoods|
|200||refugee children were enrolled in primary education|
|200||refugee children were enrolled in secondary education|
|2020 planning figures|
|3,000||Ivorian refugees hosted in neighbouring countries will be assisted to return in safety and dignity|
|1,000||undocumented Ivorians, including foundlings, will be granted nationality certificates|
People of Concern
Operational contextWith presidential elections scheduled to take place in late 2020, some political instability was experienced in 2019. A number of measures were taken by the Government to modernize essential services and institutions, including new laws adopted to reform the civil status system, the criminal justice system and some areas of family law, which supported ongoing efforts to reduce statelessness.
The adoption of the national action plan to eradicate statelessness was delayed into early 2020, despite advocacy by UNHCR. While the reasons for the delay were linked to political considerations, some of the plan’s actions were nevertheless implemented by the Government over the course of the year.
The draft national law on asylum, an important step in expanding the protection space and opportunities for durable solutions, similarly, was not adopted during the year. People of concern continued to be included in the national development plan, and to have access to national services, including universal health coverage.
Population trendsAs of December 2019, Côte d’Ivoire was host to over 2,000 refugees and almost 200 asylum-seekers. There were also some 1.66 million people at risk of statelessness.
Some 3,300 Ivorian refugees were repatriated during the year.
- Efforts were made to eradicate statelessness, including through engagement with the Government (over 100 Government officials received training and technical advice was provided in over 1,000 instances). In addition, over 1,500 stateless persons were assisted with civil status registration or documentation; 900 people with undetermined nationality were assisted to have their nationality confirmed; 600 people of concern were registered and issued documentation through procedure for late birth registration; and more than 400 stateless persons received legal assistance.
- Reintegration was also a priority for the Office, with four community sensitization campaigns on peaceful coexistence and community cohesion and five campaigns on prevention and response to sexual and gender-based violence implemented (reaching some 1,600 people); while 200 people of concern were enrolled in formal national institutions for certified skills training.
Unmet needsThe ‘Durable solutions roadmap’ was only funded at 40% by the end of 2019, accordingly in terms of returnees the Office could only:
- Meet the needs of a minority of vulnerable returnees through a reduced number of peaceful coexistence activities.
- Provide limited support for shelter for the most vulnerable returnees.
Working environmentIn August 2018, an amnesty ordinance was passed for those accused or convicted of offences relating to the 2010 post-electoral crisis or offences against state security. This amnesty is likely to enhance the return of Ivorian refugees towards the end of 2018 and early 2019.
UNHCR’s multi-year strategy to eradicate statelessness developed in 2015 was updated in 2018 and the implementation is to be continued in 2019. A new civil status law is expected to be adopted in 2018, however, given the imminence of the presidential elections in 2020, a revision of the nationality code may not be a government priority at this stage. With regard to the reduction of statelessness, a ministerial circular on the application of Article 3 of the Ivorian Nationality Code is expected to be passed in late 2018, which will authorize the judiciary to grant nationality to children of unknown parentage. In 2019 UNHCR will facilitate the issuance of late birth certificates and carry-out training on civil registration, in light of the new civil status law expected to be passed in 2018. UNHCR is currently engaged in a mapping study of the stateless population and those at risk of statelessness in Côte d’Ivoire. This study began in June 2018 with a pilot and final results are expected in December 2018. The study provides some of the first concrete statistics on statelessness in Côte d’Ivoire and forms a key part of UNHCR’s work on combatting statelessness in the country. The study will allow UNHCR to build profiles of the stateless population, including by levels and types of civil documentation, age, gender, education level, occupation, region, social background, immigration status and a host of other factors.
UNHCR will focus, beyond operational partnerships, on strategic partnerships with various stakeholders, such as development agencies to better implement empowerment programmes for refugees and returnees.
UNHCR and other UN agencies have together with the government developed a strategy for sustainable solutions for UNHCR’s people of concern and the host population. The government will continue, through SAARA (Service d'Aide et Assistance aux Refugies et Apatrides) to conduct refugee status determination and process appeals. In collaboration with partners, such as the Ministry of Family, Women and Children, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, various community-based organizations and legal clinics, UNHCR will carry out additional activities to improve the living conditions of the refugee populations. In the refugee return areas, the government plays an important role in facilitating the implementation of sustainable reintegration activities. UNHCR will work closely with the government in order to include persons of concerns’ solutions in the National Plan of Development (PND). In addition, UNHCR will continue to facilitate documentation and advocacy for the integration of children into the national education system.
Key prioritiesIn 2019, UNHCR will:
- continue its activities related to refugee status determination, access to documentation and travel documents with the Government, and implementation of durable solutions including local integration;
- strengthen the capacity of the administrative authorities with regard to refugee protection legislation;
- provide assistance on a case-by-case basis to people with special needs and continue to pursue its activities aimed at combating SGBV and improving the protection of children and their access to education;
- support durable reintegration, in particular in the areas of shelter, livelihoods, micro loans, civil documentation and social cohesion, in coordination with the Government, UN agencies and other partners;
- align its exit strategy with the National Development Plan and the UN Delivering As One strategy in Côte d’Ivoire;
- advocate for Nationality Code reform (through high-level meetings, production and use of campaign materials, workshops) to ensure nationality is granted for stateless children, long-staying migrants and their descendants who have a link with Côte d’Ivoire (e.g. birth, residence);
- provide legal assistance under the statelessness reduction programme that includes access to lawyers, information sessions and counselling;
- put in place a stateless determination procedure to provide a protective status to stateless migrants as an interim solution and last resort;
- continue awareness-raising in local languages among the stateless population, at-risk and nearby communities to ensure access to laws and birth registration, improved public attitudes and to prevent future rights violations;
- establish a coordinated and comprehensive response to mixed movements by helping to ensure respect for fundamental rights and the enjoyment of international protection in the context of mixed movements in Côte d’Ivoire as country of destination, departure and transit.