Harmonizing Returnee Arrival and Support Operations in Senegal

Participants from the Police Department and CILEC. Photo credit: Adama Dia / IOM Senegal

Participants from civil society and government. Photo credit: Adama Dia / IOM Senegal.

Dakar – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) Office in Senegal conducted a workshop on 22 March 2023 to validate the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for migrants’ assistance upon their arrival.

Ahead of this workshop, IOM had commissioned a study on the Senegalese State’s capacity to assist migrants upon their arrival. This was carried out in October 2022 with the Senegalese authorities and all actors involved in returnees’ assistance.

This report revealed that post-arrival support depends mainly on communities and local authorities, who must ensure that they share information with regional prefects. The latter will then be able to mobilize all relevant services.

It is in this perspective that Valeria Falaschi, IOM Chief of Mission in Senegal, declares: “migrants on board makeshift boats very often find themselves in vulnerable situations and in need of rescue. Sometimes the boats end up capsizing without being known by the local authorities. In addition, the survivors, through ignorance of their rights, end up dispersing, without knowing whether they have left dead bodies behind.”

The various stakeholders met on 9 March 2023 for a preliminary workshop to review the proposals made following this report and develop new standard procedures. It emerged that it is essential to better coordinate the various stakeholders’ actions, harmonize intervention procedures and build the State’s technical capacity to promote the protection of citizens who have decided to embark on a sea journey.

The validation workshop enabled actors to mainstream the action points that had been identified upstream, validate the conclusions of the previous meeting, and adopt standard operating procedures that efficiently address the challenges related to migrant arrivals.

The Permanent Secretary of the Inter-ministerial Committee to Combat Irregular Migration (en French, CILEC), Mr Bokar Ly, said: “after all relevant actors have signed the document, it will be necessary to move towards a simulation of standard operating procedures to enable each actor to perform his or her duties.”

For more information, please contact:

  • Adama Dia, IOM Senegal Communication Unit by email,

  • Cheikh Mbacké Sène, Project Officer by email,


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