France – Niger

Timeframe: April 2021-Ongoing
Type: Technical
Stage: In progress
Contributors: States

Who are involved:

MFA, MoI (Direction Générale des étrangers en France), Office Français de Protection des Réfugiés et Apatrides (OFPRA) or the French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless People, Cour Nationale du Droit d’Asile (CNDA) or Council of State and National Court of Asylum, | General Directorate of the Civil Registry, Migration and Refugees, Ministry of Interior-Niger (DGEC-M-R)

France's GRF Asylum Offer:

1. Commitment to a multi-stakeholder partnership to strengthen the asylum capacities of the requesting States: support States engaged in the development of asylum law;

2. OFPRA could usefully share its expertise and best practices in the following areas:

– Expertise in the assessment of asylum applications and the exercise of protection: maintenance techniques, consideration of vulnerabilities, drafting of administrative decisions on asylum, country assessments, reconstitution of civil status documents, etc.

– Establishment management: training of agents in charge of eligibility for protection, ethics/integrity, quality control, statistical monitoring, etc.

– Organisational aspects: digitalization of procedures, data protection, etc. 

3. Cour Nationale du Droit d’Asile (CNDA) could assist in developing the skills of judges and officials in charge of the application and implementation of refugee and asylum law.

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Niger's GRF Asylum Commitment:

Epicentre of migratory movements in West Africa and located on the edge of conflicts which have a lasting effect onneighbouring populations, Niger is committed to a generous policy of welcoming refugees despite a complex security context. Significant efforts have been made in the area of ​​reception and asylum: the establishment of a national asylum and refugee status determination system; adoption of the ETM mechanism; strengthening of the capacity of agents and members of the National Eligibility Commission (CNE) and the Appeal Committee (CRG). However, difficulties persist due to the incomplete reform of the normative and procedural framework for asylum. Under the auspices of the Asylum Capacity Support Group (ACSG), Niger is determined to reform its asylum system to strengthen its quality and efficiency. The main lines of the reform are in particular: making the CRG an appeal authority independent of the first instance; develop appropriate methods of simplified or accelerated processing of asylum applications. The revision of the legal and normative framework will enable the country to raise to the level of international standards so as to guarantee the effectiveness of international protection.

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Summary of Support

The French government through its Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons (OFPRA)[1],Council of State and National Court of Asylum (CNDA)[2], in conjunction with the Ministry of the Interior (Directorate of Foreigners in France, DGEF) and the United Nations Directorate of the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs (MEAE), will support  Niger through its General Directorate of the Civil Registry, Migration and Refugees and Ministry of Interior (DGEC-M-R) in reforming its national asylum framework, conducting a self-assessment of capacity gaps and needs of the national asylum system and possibly other activities linked to the other two components, as necessary.

1) Legislative reforms in Niger’s asylum framework

The France/Niger partnership will support the reform of the asylum system in Niger, focussing specifically on activities such as revision of the current legislative framework on asylum through an analysis of the legal texts and support for the preparation of new legislative text relating to the asylum system.

2) Self-assessment of capacity gaps

The authorities will work together on the design and use of self-assessment tools to identify the areas of improvement in the national asylum system. This exercise will lead to the sharing of recommendations to address identified gaps. The support may include the drafting of a self-assessment grid with the development of a roadmap and a proposed methodology.

3) Other capacity strengthening activities

The France/Niger matching will also address capacity strengthening needs in Niger with other activities, such as provision of training material, training of trainers, file management and improvement of quality and administrative decision writing. This aspect of the support builds on previous initiatives and aims at ensuring sustainability of efforts in line with the ACSG objectives.

The activities will resume in early April 2021.  

[1] OFPRA is the French government office for processing applications for refugee or statelessness status

[2] CNDA is the French administrative court set up to adjudicate appeals from decisions of the OFPRA

Summary of Achievements - Q1 2022

1) Legislative reforms in Niger’s asylum framework

In accordance with the main objective of the France/Niger partnership to support the Reform of the Asylum system in Niger, a three-day visit was conducted in Paris beginning of December 2021. Among major achievements of this visit, both counterparts agreed to implement the following activities:

-OFPRA will work with the DGECM-R and the Technical Committee in charge of the Reform process on the design and use of self-assessment tools to identify areas of improvement in the national Asylum system. This support will lead to the sharing of recommendations to address identified gaps together with the development of a roadmap and a proposed methodology.

-The French Council of State will support the work of the Technical Committee in charge of the Reform process on the establishment of the remedy of Cassation.

-The French Asylum Stakeholders will provide an analysis of the future draft normative framework related to the Asylum system prior to its submission to the Niger Parliament.

In addition to these activities, Niger also expressed its willingness to obtain France’s support in the long-term for the implementation of the future revised Asylum framework.

2) Self-assessment of capacity gapsThis activity will be part of the support provided by France within the Asylum reform Process (see point No. 1).

3) Other capacity strengthening activities A training session by two experts from OFPRA on the drafting of RSD decision took place in Niamey in October 2021, part of a comprehensive training module on this matter. A second session is planned for May 2022 followed by a monitoring study to assess the impact of the training module in relation with the quality of the RSD decision in Niger. Additionally, France and Niger virtually met in November 2021 to discuss about their respective filing system (both physical and electronic) as well as data protection. During the meeting, it was agreed that a needs assessment study in Niger will be conducted by OFPRA experts in close collaboration with their DGECM-R counterparts. The study, planned during the first half of 2022, will also help determine the technical support needed by Niger to that extent.

Summary of Achievements - Q4 2022

An initial meeting in October 2022 was held between the national consultant in Niger and OFPRA to support the legislative reform of Niger’s asylum framework.

A two-day online training in November was provided by OFPRA for CNE caseworkers on RSD decision drafting, which is part of a comprehensive training module.

The Directrice de Cabinet of OFPRA visited Niamey for a two-day mission in December. One aspect of this visit dealt with providing support to the CNE with archiving. This was followed by a meeting where discussions ensued on capacity-building, whereby the OFPRA indicated its willingness to provide support on several topics (interview techniques with unaccompanied minors, RSD for stateless persons). The CNE stated that they would also welcome France’s comments on the ongoing law reform. The Directrice de Cabinet of OFPRA also met with the Deputy Secretary General of the Interior Ministry, who doubles as President of the CNE panel on eligibility of asylum-seekers to refugee status.