In Niger, Chad France to open asylum centres

France will open offices in Niger and Chad in the coming weeks to identify people who could be granted asylum, President Emmanuel Macron announced Monday.

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French President Emmanuel Macron at a joint press conference with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Filippo Grandi. play

French President Emmanuel Macron at a joint press conference with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Filippo Grandi.

(POOL/AFP)
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France will open offices in Niger and Chad in the coming weeks to identify people who could be granted asylum, President Emmanuel Macron announced Monday.

The offices would also "warn people in Niger and Chad better about the situation in order to avoid an influx of economic migrants" who would only be sent back from France, Macron said.

The French president had made a similar proposal for migrant registration centres in Libya in July.

But the idea was axed due to chronic insecurity in the North African country, a launchpad for hundreds of thousands of migrants setting sail for Europe across the Mediterranean.

In Chad and Niger, candidates for asylum would come from lists provided by the United Nations refugee agency, Macron said after talks in Paris with the UNHCR's chief Filippo Grandi.

The presidency said the first mission in Niger, operated by France's refugee protection office Ofpra, would start work at the end of October.

France "will open 10,000 places over the next two years" for refugees resettled from Niger, Chad, Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon, Macron said, confirming a proposal first raised after a mini-summit with European and African leaders in August.

Vincent Cochetel, the UNHCR's special envoy for the Mediterranean, last month demanded that France clarify how many refugees it was committed to resettling.

He estimated that 83,500 people in Chad and 10,500 in Niger -- many caught up in the brutal Boko Haram insurgency -- needed to be transferred out of their countries.

Macron reiterated that France is seeking to expel economic migrants in a "much more rigorous" manner while offering refuge to those with a right to asylum.

He announced that France would send an extra 10 million euros ($12 million) to the UNHCR and International Organization for Migration, particularly to boost their operations in Libya.

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