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Medical assistance provided to migrants in Niger

Primary GCM Objectives

GCM Guiding Principles*

*All practices are to uphold the ten guiding principles of the GCM. This practice particularly exemplifies these listed principles.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)


2017 - Present

Type of practice


Geographic scope



Sub Regions:


MRRM program has a component of direct assistance for the stranded migrants on the Nigerien territory who wish to go back to their home country. The assistance includes primary health services at the IOM transit centers and referral to the local health structures, however, we face sometimes, the situation that migrants with severe health condition cannot make to return home but decease in Niger. For the migrants whose health condition is critical, the IOM transit center health and protection colleagues try to facilitate as much as possible to let the migrants contact their family members if they would like to, and to receive their family contacts. Sometimes, the respective embassies and consulates request to meet their citizens with severe medical conditions, and if the migrants wish to be contacted, IOM also facilitates their meetings. In case migrants pass away during the assistance in Niger, IOM Niger informs the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Niger about the deaths of the migrants, respecting the nationalities that were declared upon the registration with IOM in order for the ministry to inform the respective representatives of their countries of origin. IOM health unit also contacts the IOM country offices to inform the death, requesting to inform the families if the family contacts were known, and to provide us the authorization of burial in the locality where the death occurs since the repatriation of bodies is not feasible from Niger. The burial is followed in the modality of the believes of the migrants/family members (ex. Muslim or Christian way), and accompanied by their compatriots, other migrants and center staff. When the family wishes, we send the photos of the funeral. When possible, the belongings of the deceased migrants are also sent to the family members, however, since the COVID-19 pandemic, this has been quite a challenge to send back the belongings. All these actions above are done within the MRRM finance. With the national authority, IOM has been seeking to support the management of deaths of non-Nigeriens in the Nigerien territory and IOM will be included for the meetings/discussions once the national multi-disciplinary committee on the mortal remains’ management, created in March 2022.


Main Implementing Organization(s)

International Organization for Migration (IOM)

Detailed Information

International Organization for Migration (IOM)

Partner/Donor Organizations

Local Authorities
Consular Partners

Benefit and Impact

When the migrants with health condition wish, and they have family contacts, IOM can facilitate to let them in touch, and sometimes, the family members come to Niger to accompany the migrants that can contribute enormously for the concerned migrants’ well-being. However, IOM cannot support such accompany financially, therefore, this is only some rare cases that we have seen such.

Key Lessons

Not all the migrants with severe health condition do not wish to contact (or to be contacted) their family or their respective embassies/consulates due to the fact that they could not succeed in their migration, they have depts with the family members, or any other negative reasons. It is very sensitive issue, and sometimes, when they arrive to us, the migrants are already in a critical condition that they cannot express themselves. As IOM does not investigate the nationality but respect what the migrants report, and many of the migrants do not have their ID document, the nationality reported are often, not confirmed. Sometimes, the embassies/consulates reply to the info on deceased migrants that they cannot admit as their citizens (from the name, for example). Nigerien authority does not have the way to manage the deaths occurring on the Nigerien territory, and there’s no DNA checks or family tracing, therefore, there are deaths not even reported to respective representatives. Also, when the migrants are severely sick that cannot meet the criteria of Fit to Travel of IOM procedure, there’s no other ways that the migrants can travel back home even though they wish, and there are no ways to invite the family members unless the family is capable to do so on their own.

Recommendations(if the practice is to be replicated)

Continue to advocate to the authorities to discuss on the challenges that IOM Niger faces, relating to the missing migrants including deaths, for the authorities to take the lead to communicate with the respective hierarcies as well as the consulates of the concerned countries. IOM to seek the way for the guidance for the termination of care, or alternative way of voluntary return of severely sick migrants, continuous care once returned home, or family to accompany for the migrants who are not able to return home. If the migrants wish, to document their stories and publish, or use as sensitization materials on migration.


- Aspects of this practice that could be considered as innovative (new or improved process or methods) – not innovative but quite basic
- Did this practice catalyse other related initiatives? – N/A
- Are the impacts of the practice sustainable? - yes
- Is this practice scalable? - yes
- If applicable, how did the practice adapt to the changing circumstances posed by the COVID-19 pandemic? -N/A

Date submitted:

05 September 2023

Disclaimer: The content of this practice reflects the views of the implementers and does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations, the United Nations Network on Migration, and its members.



*References to Kosovo shall be understood to be in the context of United Nations Security Council resolution 1244 (1999).