Including information on Benin, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Senegal, Sierra Leone & Togo.
- Local integration remains the most viable option for Senegalese refugees. During the last verification exercise, the intention survey indicated that103 refugee households are willing to integrate locally in the Gambia through the long-term residence status and naturalization. However,they face an obstacle of lacking their country of origin documents, such as birth certificates, passports, and ID cards. To tackle that issue, the Governmental partner in the Gambia is open to advocate for issuing attestations ‘in lieu’.
- In 2019, UNHCR supported the efforts of the Government to the issue over 1,500 identification cards to refugees and 80 birth certificates to refugee children born in The Gambia.
- In 2016, the Government adopted the Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons (1954) and the Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness (1961). Since then, the country has nominated a government focal point on statelessness. In addition, a National Plan of Action (NAP) for the Eradication of Statelessness was elaborated and approved by the Minister of Justice and Human Rights in November 2018.
- In November-December 2021, a verification operation of people forced to flee took place in rural areas in collaboration with CNRRPD. The second phase covering urban areas took lace in the first quarter of 2022. Following UNHCR advocacy efforts, authorities are increasingly favourable to the idea of local integration (naturalisation and long term residence permits) and for the inclusion of locally integrated Mauritanian refugees into the national social service programmes.
- In December 2021, 51 refugees obtained Senegalese nationality after having fulfilled the conditions of stay as provided for in article 12 of law no.61-10of 7 March 1961 determining Senegalese nationality for, among others, having resided in Senegal for more than 10 years, having known only Senegal as a land of residence. In addition, they satisfied the conditions of morality, social behaviour and health.
- Aiming to help refugees find the most suitable solution, UNHCR facilitated in 2019 obtaining 10-year residence permits for 24 refugees originating from DR Congo and provided them an economic assistance package to ensure their local integration.
- According to UNHCR census, some 1,000 Ghanaian refugees born in Togo (Dankpen) are now eligible to obtain the Togolese nationality. UNHCR advocates with the authorities for ensuring that rural Ghanaian refugees who cannot benefit from nationality by right of soil, nor meet the conditions to acquire residence cards, can be granted citizenship.
Cross-cutting multi-country issues:
- With the objective to reduce the risk of statelessness, UNHCR provides technical and financial support to Benin, the Gambia, Guinea Conakry, Guinea Bissau, Sierra Leone, Senegal, and Togo to carry out a census of populations at risk of statelessness. With ongoing legislative reforms in Benin, the Gambia, Guinea, and Togo, UNHCR and partners advocate for the harmonization of national laws with international standards for the prevention of statelessness.