Mauritania: Situation of returnees who left Mauritania in 1989, especially those who returned from Senegal and those who returned since November 2007 (2007 – January 2009)
Source: Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
In 1989, approximately 60,000 black Mauritanians were forced out of their country after ethnic violence erupted over a border dispute between Mauritania and Senegal (UN 29 Jan. 2008; ibid. 26 Nov. 2008b).
In June 2007, Mauritania’s newly elected president, Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi, who had campaigned on a promise to repatriate the refugees (UN 2 Feb. 2009; ibid. 11 Aug. 2008; L’International Magazine 6 Jan. 2008), publicly invited the estimated 33,000 Mauritanians still living in neighbouring Mali and Senegal to return (UN 2009, 234). In 2007, the Office of the United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Senegalese authorities conducted a survey among Mauritanians living in Senegal that showed that some 24,000 people wished to return to their homes in Mauritania (UN 13 Nov. 2007).
In November 2007, Mauritania, Senegal and the UNHCR signed a tripartite agreement providing a framework to repatriate and reintegrate Mauritanians living in Senegal who wished to return to Mauritania (UN 13 Nov. 2007). Repatriation efforts began in January 2008 (UN 20 Oct. 2008; ibid. 29 Jan. 2008). The UNCHR expects to repatriate a total of 18,000 people by the time the program is completed in June 2009 (UN 2 Feb. 2009).
Read report on Canada IRB website.