As of 30 June 2017, there were 17,878 persons under UNHCR mandate in Senegal. The Senegal operation is working to find durable solutions for them.*
The voluntary repatriation of 10 Central Africans, 6 Ivorians and 4 Gambians in April enabled those refugees and asylum seekers to regain their dignity.
Advocacy for the acceptance of Mauritanian refugees by their government continues. 3,135 Mauritanian refugees are still willing to return home.
Working with Partners
To ensure the best protection for persons under UNHCR’s mandate, the Senegal Unit works in partnership with governmental bodies such as the National Eligibility Committee (CNE) and the National Committee for Refugees, Repatriated and Displaced Persons (CNRRPD).
The Senegal Unit works also with NGOs and international organizations such as the African Office for Development and Cooperation (OFADEC), Caritas/PARI, VIVRE-CAPREC, Amnesty International, la Rencontre Africaine pour la Défense des Droits de l’Homme (RADDHO), ICRC and UN agencies, including UNICEF,
OCHA and OHCHR.
Main Activities Celebration of World Refugee Day
- On Tuesday 20 June, World Refugee Day (WRD) was celebrated for the first time in Ndioum, in the Valley of the Senegal River which is in the region of Saint-Louis (268 km from Dakar). The theme for this year remained the same as last year, #WithRefugees, to send a strong message to world leaders and decision makers about the need to share responsibility for the refugee crises. The event was celebrated with a variety of activities mostly performed by refugees including drama, fashion show, poetry recitations and exhibition sales. To encourage children schooling the 11 best refugee students were awarded. 6 Miss Science awards were also given to the best girls in Mathematics and Science, an initiative of the Senegalese Ministry of Education to promote girls in those scientific subjects. The Regional Representative stayed in the Valley a week after the celebration to visit refugees’ sites to better address the concerns of refugees. Although Senegal hosts 17,878 refugees and asylum seekers, there are no refugee camps. 12,648 refugees reside in various local communities in the Valley while 1,917 refugees and 3,313 asylum seekers live in urban areas (Dakar, Thiès and Saint Louis).
UNHCR’s Senegal Unit organized 8 protection hearings at OFADEC’s Social Orientation Office (BOS) in Dakar for refugees and asylum seekers from Mauritania, Central Africa, the Gambia, Congo Brazzaville and Congo Kinshasa. 84 persons including 27 women asked for assistance in resettlement, documentation, health and food assistance and most of them received that assistance.
The National Eligibility Committee organized 9 hearings with the participation of UNHCR’s Senegal Unit as an observer. 35 asylum seekers’ demands were examined. At the end, the Committee issued 10 favorable opinions transmitted to the President of the Republic of Senegal who will make a decree to grant the refugee status. There were 25 unfavorable opinions.
The Unit took part in the workshop on sharing and reflection on migration in Senegal organized by Caritas, VIS (an Italian NGO working on awareness of potential migrants) and the Socio-educational Centre Keur Don Bosco on 7 June in Dakar.
The objective of the meeting was to contribute to the improvement of the living conditions of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in Senegal.
The first quarterly meeting with the 15 students enrolled under the DAFI scholarship was held on 1 June. It was a meeting to discuss the school results of the first semester, DAFI club activities, medical care and documentation.
The purpose of the DAFI fellowship is to promote refugee self-sufficiency, to develop capacities or qualifications by facilitating the access of refugee students to universities, and technological institutes in their countries of asylum throughout the world.
UNHCR’s Senegal Unit took part in the retreat of the Technical and Financial Partners of Education in Senegal on 11 May in Dakar. The objective of the meeting was mainly to define a strategic position to improve Education and the functioning of the group, Technical and Financial Partners of Education.
In April, 20 refugees and asylum seekers (11 women and 9 men) have been repatriated in dignity to their countries of origin.
10 refugees have been resettled in Canada.
In the framework of the naturalization process, the administrative files of 89 demands are in the process of being set up. As part of this, there are 6 Mauritanian refugees (1 woman and 5 men), spouses of Senegalese nationals who will soon acquire Senegalese nationality. The Senegalese spouses are in the process of obtaining certificates of non-renunciation of their nationality which they will give to their Mauritanian spouses. The latter will be able to submit their complete files to the Ministry of Justice in order to acquire the Senegalese nationality.
- 3 assistance committees were organized with UNHCR’s implementing partner OFADEC during which 30 demands of 22 refugees and 8 asylum seekers were reviewed. 9 favourable decisions were granted (5 women, 4 men). Depending on their level of vulnerability, they received either a one-time or monthly financial assistance up to 3 months, for their primary subsistence needs such as housing and food. The rejected demands were due to incomplete documentation or they did not meet the vulnerability criteria.