No detention centre mapping data


Senegal Immigration Detention

A major migrant source country, Senegal is also a destination and transit country for migrants and asylum seekers, many of whom attempt to use Senegal as a departure point for Spain’s Canary Islands. In recent years, Senegal has passed legislation and signed agreements with European countries aimed at preventing “clandestine” emigration from the country. Rights advocates claim that these efforts have resulted in increasing numbers of migration detainees in Senegal. 

Quick Facts


International migrants (2015): 263,200
New asylum applications (2016): 293

Profile Updated: August 2009

Senegal Immigration Detention Profile

A major migrant source country, Senegal is also a destination and transit country for migrants and asylum seekers, many of whom attempt to use Senegal as a departure point for Spain’s Canary Islands. In recent years, Senegal has passed legislation and signed agreements with European countries aimed at preventing “clandestine” emigration from the country. Rights advocates claim that these efforts have resulted in increasing numbers of migration detainees in Senegal. Said one source interviewed by the Global Detention Project, “The border of Europe has been pushed back to Senegal. And with these increasing crackdowns, there is no guarantee for refugees who are caught up in mixed migrant flows” (Ndiaye 2009).

Detention Policy

The rights of immigrants and asylum seekers in Senegal are established in various laws, including, inter alia: the Loi relative aux conditions d’admission, de séjour et d’établissement des étrangers, 1971 (or the “Foreigners Act”); the Loi relative a la lutte contre la traite des personnes et pratiques assimilees at a la protection des victims, 2005 (“Law against Trafficking in People”); and the Loi no. 68-27 de 24 juillet 1968 modifiee portent status des refugies (“Refugee Law”).

According to the Foreigners Act, a non-citizen (étranger) is subject to imprisonment and a fine if he/she:
• Enters or returns to Senegal despite being notified that he/she is not allowed to do so;
• Remains in Senegal without appropriate authorization or after the expiration of authorization;
• Obtains residence authorization by fraudulent means;
• Works illegally in Senegal.

Senegal is a party to the 1951 Refugee Convention and has established legal criteria for the recognition and treatment of refugees and asylum seekers. These are set out in the 1968 Refugee Law as well as successive modifications (USCRI 2007). Governmental and non-governmental bodies generally applaud Senegal’s policies on refugees, reporting few or no cases of refoulement and highlighting the country’s protection system (U.S. State Department 2009; USCRI 2007).

The Global Detention Project has received contradictory information regarding Senegal’s detention practices. According to both the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI), undocumented immigrants can be held in administrative detention for up to three months while they await deportation (USCRI 2008; U.S. State Department 2009).

However, the Global Detention Project was unable to verify the law or regulation that stipulates the 3-month administration detention policy. A representative of the West African aid agency OFADEC, which works closely with refugees, told the Global Detention Project that he was unaware of the 3-month detention policy. He added, “The Senegalese government does not have the money or resources to keep immigrants in jail. Those arrested [because of their status] are typically released on bail after sentencing. Many of these people are linked up with trafficking rings, and as soon as they are freed they link back up with their networks and you never see them again” (Ndiaye 2009). 

In its World Refugee Survey 2007, USCRI highlighted a number of detention cases, including the detention of refugees: “Authorities arrested at least six West and Central Africans for lack of valid papers. In April, authorities detained an Ivorian refugee overnight even though he had an attestation of refugee status. In August, authorities arrested two Liberians for illegal residence, held them for three weeks, and sentenced them to a month in prison. The Liberians had applied for asylum four months earlier, but the [National Commission for Eligibility] had not given them receipts. Authorities could hold persons in administrative detention for up to three months before deportation. No court reviewed refugees' or asylum seekers' detention. Generally, authorities informed UNHCR of arrests and, when necessary, UNHCR intervened to assure release” (USCRI 2008).

According to the U.S. State Department, in 2008 the Senegalese government “violated the rights of some asylum seekers by not offering them due process or security since appeals filed by denied asylum seekers were examined by the same committee that examined their original cases, and a denied asylum seeker can be arrested for staying illegally in the country. Those arrested sometimes remained in ‘administrative detention’ for up to three months before being deported” (U.S. State Department 2009).

Because of its status as a transit state for migrants trying to reach Europe, Senegal has passed legislation and worked closely with European partners to impede the trafficking of immigrants across its territory. The Law against the Trafficking in People, passed in 2005, has been widely applauded for its stringent penalties aimed at people traffickers (see, for example, U.S. State Department 2009b). However, the law broadly targets all those involved in “clandestine migration.” Article 4 of the law provides, “Illegal migration, organized by land, sea or air, as well as the use of national territory for origin, transit or destination, is punishable by 5-10 years imprisonment.” According to one rights advocate in Senegal, enforcement of this law has led to increases in the numbers of people, including both Senegalese and non-citizens, detained and prosecuted for migration-related offenses (Sadikh 2009).

Since passage of the 2005 anti-trafficking law, Senegal has signed a number of bilateral agreements with European countries, including Spain and France, aimed at cooperating in efforts to prevent “clandestine” emigration from Senegal and/or allowing for the repatriation of unauthorized immigrants (AFP 2008; Bernard 2006; Euronews 2006). According to rights groups, however, these agreements risk violating basic rights and have led to increased numbers of detainees. Amnesty International reported in 2007, “Thousands of migrants and asylum-seekers, mostly sub-Saharan Africans, continued to transit through Senegal. Many sought to reach the Canary Islands (Spain) and hundreds were arrested by Senegalese security forces. Coastal surveillance was reinforced after an agreement in August between Senegal and Spain to implement joint security measures to curb the flow of clandestine migrants. In September and October [2006], more than 90 Pakistani migrants, including at least one minor, were arrested, charged with attempted illegal immigration and repatriated” (AI 2007).

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has criticized a 2006 agreement between Spain and Senegal on the repatriation of unaccompanied children on the grounds that it provides too little time (20 days) to adequately assess situations. The group added, “The deadlines also increase the risk that information will be shared with the Senegalese government before an assessment is made whether a child or his or her family are subject to persecution and have a claim for protection under the Refugee Convention. Under these circumstances, sharing such information could conceivably place the child or the child's family at additional risk of persecution” (HRW 2008).

Detention Infrastructure

Senegal does not maintain dedicated facilities to hold immigration detainees in administrative detention. Instead, Senegal uses prisons and police stations to hold these detainees (Ministry of Interior 2009b; Sadikh 2009). According to one advocate who works with detained immigrants, the principal prisons used for this purpose include: Prison Centrale (aka “100 metres”), Liberte VI (for women), and Fort-B (for minors) in Dakar; and the prisons in Rufisque, Theis, and Saint-Louis (Sadikh 2009). Prisons are managed by the Direction de l'Administration Pénitentiaire of the Ministry of Justice (International Centre for Prison Studies 2008). Immigration detainees are under the authority of the Direction de la Police des Etrangers et des Titres de Voyage of the Ministry of Interior (Ministry of Interior 2009).

Facts & Figures

As of 2007, Senegal had 2,538 pending asylum claims and was home to more than 20,000 certified refugees (UNHCR 2008). The majority of refugees and asylum seekers in Senegal come from Mauritania. Others come from Guinea Bisseau, Rwanda, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Cote d’Ivoire (USCRI 2007).

References

  • Agence France Presse (AFP). 2008. “Senegal and Spain Prolong Cooperation to stop illegal immigration.” Agence France Presse. 21 May 2008.
  • Amnesty International (AI). 2007. “Amnesty International Report 2007 – Senegal.” Amnesty International. 23 May 2007.
  • Human Rights Watch (HRW). 2008. “Spain’s Push for Repatriations.” 17 October 2008.
  • Bernard, Phillipe. 2006. “L’emigration, une manne indispensable pour le Senegal.” Le Monde. 27 septembre 2006.
  • Euronews. 2006. “Francia y Senegal acuerdan frenar la inmigracion clandestine.” Euronews. 24 September 2006.
  • International Centre for Prison Studies. Website. "Prison Brief for Senegal." Last updated 1 September 2008.http://www.kcl.ac.uk/depsta/law/research/icps/worldbrief/wpb_country.php?country=41 (accessed 21 July 2009).
  • Journal Officiel de la Republique du Senegal. 1971. Loi relative aux conditions d’admission, de séjour et d’établissement des étrangers. Journal Officiel de la Republique du Senegal. 20 fevrier 1971.
  • Ndiaye, Mamadou (OFADEC). 2009. Phone interview by Michael Flynn (Global Detention Project). 22 July 2009. Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Ministry of Interior. Website. "Directions."http://www.interieur.gouv.sn/directions.php (accessed 17 July 2009).
  • Ministry of Interior. 2009b. Phone conversation between unnamed official in the Ministry of Interior (Direction de la Police des Etrangers et des Titres de Voyage) and Michael Flynn (Global Detention Project). 17 July 2009. Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Sadikh, Niass (RADDHO-Senegal). 2009. Email communication to Michael Flynn (Global Detention Project). 16 July 2009. Geneva, Switzerland.
  • UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). 2008. Statistical Yearbook: 2007. UNHCR. December 2008.
  • UN Human Rights Committee. 1996. Consideration of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 40 of the Covenant: Fourth periodic reports of States parties due in 1995: Addendum: Senegal. UN Human Rights Committee. CCPR/C/103/Add.1. 22 November 1996.
  • U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI). 2007. World Refugee Survey 2006. USCRI. July 2007.
  • U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI). 2008. USCRI. World Refugee Survey 2007. June 2008.
  • U.S. State Department. 2009. 2008 Human Rights Report. U.S. State Department. 25 February 2009.http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2008/af/119021.htm (accessed 24 June 2009).
  • U.S. State Department. 2009b. Trafficking in Persons Report 2009. U.S. State Department. 16 June 2009.http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/4a4214942d.html (accessed 20 July 2009).

Centres List

No detention centres data available

Statistics Expand all



9,422

Criminal prison population

2016

  • Criminal prison population
NumberObservation Date
9,4222016
8,4282012
7,5502009
6,3632006
6,5522003
4,8942000
4,6531997
4,0321994


10.7

Percentage of foreign prisoners

2012

  • Percentage of foreign prisoners
PercentageObservation Date
10.72012


60

Prison population rate (per 100,000 of national population)

2016

  • Prison population rate (per 100,000 of national population)
NumberObservation Date
602016
642012
622009
572006
642003
512000
531997
491994



15,129,000

Population

2015

  • Population
NumberObservation Date
15,129,0002015
13,100,0002012


263,200

International migrants

2015

  • International migrants
NumberObservation Date
263,2002015
209,4002013


1.7

International migrants as a percentage of the population

2015

  • International migrants as a percentage of the population
PercentageObservation Date
1.72015
1.52013


14,575

Refugees

2016

  • Refugees
NumberObservation Date
14,5752016
14,3922015
14,2472014


0.97

Ratio of refugees per 1000 inhabitants

2014

  • Ratio of refugees per 1000 inhabitants
NumberObservation Date
0.972014
1.12012


293

Total number of new asylum applications

2016

  • Total number of new asylum applications
NumberObservation Date
2932016
5312014
1712012


32.7

Refugee recognition rate

2014

  • Refugee recognition rate
NumberObservation Date
32.72014


0

Stateless persons

2016

  • Stateless persons
NumberObservation Date
02016
02014

International Law Expand all

International treaties Show sources
NameRatification Year
ICPED, International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance2008
OPCAT, Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment2006
CRSSP, Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons2005
CTOCTP, Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children2003
CTOCSP, Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime2003
ICRMW, International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families1999
CRC, Convention on the Rights of the Child1990
CAT, Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment1986
CEDAW, Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women1985
ICCPR, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights1978
ICESCR, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights1978
ICERD, International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination1972
PCRSR, Protocol to the Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees1967
VCCR, Vienna Convention on Consular Relations1966
CRSR, Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees1963
Ratio of relevant international treaties ratified
  15/19
Individual complaints procedure Show sources
NameAcceptance Year
ICERD, declaration under article 14 of the Convention1982
ICCPR, First Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 19661978
CEDAW, Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, 19992000
CAT, declaration under article 22 of the Convention1996
Ratio of complaints procedures accepted Show sources
NumberObservation Date
4/82017
Relevant recommendations issued by treaty bodies Show sources
NameRecommendation ExcerptRecommendation Year
Committee on Migrant Workers"§27. (a) amend act no. 71-10 of 25 january 1971 on conditions of admission, stay and establishment of foreigners in senegal so as to decriminalize irregular migration, since the committee is of the view that, in accordance with its general comment no. 2 (2013) on the rights of migrant workers in an irregular situation and members of their families, staying in a country in an unauthorized manner or without proper documentation or overstaying a residence permit should not constitute a criminal offence; (b) indicate in its next periodic report the number of migrants, disaggregated by age, sex, nationality and/or origin, who are currently being detained for having violated the law on migration, specifying the location, the average length and conditions of detention and providing information on the number of expulsions and the procedures followed; (c) detain migrant workers for having violated the law on migration only in exceptional circumstances and as a last resort; and ensure in all cases that they are held separately from ordinary prisoners, that women are detained separately from men, that conditions of detention are in conformity with international standards and that alternatives to detention are used for children and their families and for unaccompanied minors; (d) prohibit and consider alternatives to the administrative detention in police stations of foreigners awaiting deportation from the national territory." "§31. (a) facilitate access by senegalese migrant workers residing abroad to consular and diplomatic assistance from the state party, particularly in cases of detention or expulsion; (b) ensure that its consular services effectively carry out their duty to protect and promote the rights of senegalese migrant workers and members of their families and, in particular, provide the necessary assistance to any such persons who are deprived of liberty or subject to an expulsion order; (c) take the necessary steps to ensure that the consular or diplomatic staff of the states of origin or of a state representing the interests of those states are systematically informed when one of their nationals is taken into custody in the state party."2016
Committee on Migrant Workers" take the necessary steps to ensure that the detention of migrant workers in an irregular situation is only a measure of last resort and that, in all circumstances, such detention is carried out in accordance with article 16 and with article 17, paragraph 2, of the convention."2010

Regional legal instruments Show sources
NameYear of Ratification (Treaty) / Transposed (Directive) / Adoption (Regulation)
ACHPR, African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights1982
ACRWC, African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child1998
APRW, Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol)2004

Relevant recommendations of the UN Universal Periodic Review Show sources
Recomendation IssuedYear IssuedObservation Date
No20092017
No20132017

Institutions Expand all

Custodial authority Show sources
AgencyMinistryMinistry TypologyObservation Date
Direction de la Police des Etrangers et des Titres de VoyageMinistry of InteriorInterior or Home Affairs2009
Detention Facility Management Show sources
Entity NameEntity TypeObservation Date
Ministry of Justice / Direction de l'Administration PénitentiaireGovernmental2009

Socio Economic Data Expand all

Gross Domestic Product per capita (in USD) Show sources
Gross Domestic Product per capita (in USD)Observation Date
1,0672014
1,0722013
Remittances to the country Show sources
Remittances to the country (in millions USD)Observation Date
1,6432014
1,4422011
Remittances from the country Show sources
Remittances from the country (in millions USD)Observation Date
1742010
Unemployment Rate Show sources
Unemployment RateObservation Date
102014
Net official development assistance (ODA) (in millions USD) Show sources
Net official development assistance (ODA) (in USD)Observation Date
1,106.92014
Human Development Index Ranking (UNDP) Show sources
Human Development Index Ranking (UNDP)UNDP four-tiered rankingObservation Date
170Low2015
163Low2014

Pew Global Attitudes Poll on Immigration Show sources
% who agree with the statement “We should restrict and control entry of people into our country more than we do now.”Observation Date
842007

Country Links

Government Agencies

Ministry of the Interior (French), http://www.interieur.gouv.sn/

International Organisations

UNHCR Senegal Country Information Page, http://www.unhcr.org/senegal.html

IOM Senegal Country Information Page, https://www.iom.int/countries/senegal

NGO & Research Institutions

Rencontre Africaine Pour la Defense des Droits de l’Homme (RADDHO),  http://raddho.com/

Office Africaine pour le Développement et la Coopération (OFADEC), http://www.ofadec.org/

Caritas Senegal, http://www.caritas.sn/Point-d-accueil-pour-refugies-et-immigres-Caritas-au-service-des-migrants_a390.html

Media

Le Soleil, http://www.lesoleil.sn/


Additional Resources


Europe: On Its Borders New Problems

Back To Top