Senegal Multi-Country Office
Operation: Senegal Multi-Country Office
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|2019 year-end results|
|5,500||refugees received documentation in Guinea Bissau with the support of UNHCR (including some 4,300 Guinean identification cards; 4,100 birth certificates; and 3,400 certificates of nationality)|
|1,930||cases were submitted for resettlement|
|1,160||Ivorians repatriated from Guinea, with the assistance of UNHCR|
|900||refugee children were enrolled in primary school in Benin, Guinea and Senegal|
|2020 planning figures|
|14,350||refugees and 1,710 asylum-seekers in Senegal will be supported with durable solutions, most notably voluntary repatriation|
|7,000||refugees will be naturalized in Guinea Bissau|
|250||refugee children born in Gambia will be registered|
|200||refugees in Gambia will be assisted with acquisition of long-term residence permits|
|90%||of refugees in Guinea will be engaged in agricultural activities and Income Generating Activities that will enable them to achieve self-sufficiency|
People of Concern
Senegal Multi-Country Office
Working environmentThe national institutional protection frameworks for refugees are overall favourable in the countries covered by UNHCR’s multi-country office in Senegal, although significant gaps remain. All eight countries are party to the 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1969 OAU Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa and national instruments have been developed for the domestication of these conventions. While many of the 1951 Convention provisions have been incorporated into the national legislations, the legislative framework in the countries - except for in Guinea and Togo - does not meet international standards. A comprehensive review of the national legislations will continue to be carried out.
Dedicated Refugee Status Determination institutions have been established in all countries covered by the Office and they have effectively responded to situations of sudden influx and granted prima facie status to refugees fleeing political crises and armed conflict. However, national institutions responsible for individual status determination procedures remain hindered by inadequate funding and frequent staff turnover in government RSD institutions. Procedural bottlenecks, weaknesses in institutional set-ups and case-management, that is not in accordance with SOPs, have led to the accumulation of backlogs and secondary movements of asylum-seekers.
The security environment and the rising threat of terrorism and violent extremist groups in West Africa can hinder access to asylum with tightened security and border controls. Asylum-seekers in the region have limited access to information about RSD procedures, and limited legal counselling and psychosocial assistance is available only in a few countries, such as Benin and Gambia. In line with the Refugee Coordination Model, together with Governments, UNHCR will lead the Inter-Agency coordination of emergency preparedness for refugee emergencies, where there is a medium to high risk for new refugee influx (e.g. in Benin, Guinea Bissau and Togo). This includes the development and update of minimum and advanced emergency preparedness actions such as inter-agency contingency plans.
There are no major IDP situations in the concerned countries for the time being, but UNHCR will participate in the inter-agency risk analysis and development of emergency preparedness measures, in preparation of an IDP situation due to natural disaster. Concerning the coordination of mixed movements, UNHCR will advocate for the application of the OCHA-UNHCR Joint Note on Mixed Situations, where feasible.
UNHCR is engaged with the UN Integrated Strategy for the Sahel, a tool now used by the UN to advance SDGs in the region, considering national and regional priorities. UNHCR is a member of the Task Force on renewable energy. UNHCR is also a core member of the Regional UNDG for West and Central Africa, leading its Quality Assurance and Advice-Peer Support Group, which provides technical support to countries on their UNDAF development processes.
UNHCR will increase efforts to benefit from the UN pool funds such as the UNDAF, Humanitarian Response Plans (where applicable) and other initiatives in the region. UNHCR will also focus on the promotion of durable solutions for refugees with development actors for responsibility and burden-sharing. In order to increase financial and political support for refugees, UNHCR will engage regional bodies, such as ECOWAS and the African Union, donors and celebrities to bring refugees on the regional and global agenda. UNHCR will also expand its partnerships with the private sector, in particular with financial institutions.
While only Senegal was a pilot country for the MYMP Strategy, the strategy will be adopted by the other countries (excluding Cape Verde) over of the next three years. With the lessons learned and best practices from the case of Senegal, the strategy for the six countries will aim at:
- Improving and establishing a sound, fair and effective asylum system in line with international standards;
- Enhancing the economic inclusion and livelihood of refugees, asylum-seekers, returnees and host communities through a better access to national services such as health, education, housing, etc;
- Durable solutions for people of concern namely through voluntary repatriation, resettlement and local integration;
- Establishing of strong partnerships and mobilization of stakeholders for advocacy, communication and coordination necessary for a successful implementation of the strategy.
Operation-specific results for 2020 include:
Repatriation of refugees and asylum-seekers in Benin in 2020; the favourable security situation in Côte d'Ivoire and in Bangui in the Central African Republic allows for a voluntary return to which most refugees from these countries do not adhere. Country-of-origin information will be shared to encourage them to repatriate voluntarily in a dignified and safe manner.
In the Gambia, local integration remains a viable option for Senegalese refugees. During the last verification exercise, the intention survey indicated willingness of many refugee households to integrate locally in the Gambia through the long-term residence status and naturalization. However, challenges confronting this option are that many refugees lack their country of origin nationality documents, such as birth certificates, passports and ID cards. The available durable solution options for them for the time being are local integration and resettlement.
In Guinea Bissau, UNHCR will continue to monitor activities implemented in communities where the 2019 naturalised refugees are residing. Activities will include promotion of coexistence projects with development actors, government, private sector and other stakeholders. The situation of people of concern is monitored through monthly coordination meetings with refugees, which helps to discuss implementation progress, achievements and challenges, and when necessary, change the plan of activity. Furthermore, assistance will be provided to the remaining case load of refugees, and capacity will be transferred gradually to government counterparts.
In Guinea, repatriation of some Ivorian refugees and resettlement to a third country will take place in 2020. In alignment with the roadmap for the voluntary repatriation of Ivorian refugees, adopted in December 2018, several activities, including come-and-tell and go-and-see visits, profiling and intention gathering, verification, documentation, and increasing the cash grant to $300 (adult and children) will be carried out to enable those who so wish to return to safety and dignity in Côte d'Ivoire.
In Senegal, UNHCR will concentrate on repatriation, resettlement, delivery of residence permit, and naturalization of refugees (in particular refugees from Mauritania). . In Sierra Leone, UNHCR will concentrate on locally integrating and mainstreaming some refugees into the national programme. Effective local integration of the residual caseload of refugees will be the focus of the Government in 2020 in close collaboration with The National Commission for Social Action.
In Togo, UNHCR will undertake repatriation, resettlement and naturalization activities.