Senegal acceded to the UN Statelessness Conventions, and is party to the international and regional instruments on children’s rights. In the framework of ECOWAS, in 2015 Senegal signed the Abidjan Declaration to end statelessness in West Africa, and in 2017 it adopted the legally binding ECOWAS National Action Plan against statelessness.
The population of stateless children and children at risk of statelessness in Senegal is currently unknown, as no quantitative mapping has yet been carried out. However, it is possible to identify several factors leading to situations of childhood statelessness:
Gaps in the current Nationality Law, including:
– The restriction of the presumption of nationality to new-born foundlings, whose parents are unknown
– The absence of safeguards for children born in Senegal who would otherwise be stateless.
The low rate of civil registration, especially birth registration, is another major factor contributing to the risk of statelessness in Senegal. One out of three children under 5 is not registered in the civil Registries, and the number of “invisible” children is estimated at 600,000 (UNICEF, 2016).
Graffiti in Dakar, Senegal which says ‘My birth certificate is my future!’ © UNHCR/ Monika Rohmer, May 2018
1. Promoting law reform, and its implementation, to ensure safeguards in nationality laws to prevent statelessness among children.
Goal: Law reforms are carried out to ensure the consistency of domestic law with the Statelessness Conventions, in line with the international and regional standards for child protection.
2. Improving birth registration to prevent statelessness.
Goal 1: Birth registration rate is improved, especially amongst the Talibe children from Daraas in rural areas and regions with lower registration rates.
Goal 2: The general public and the relevant actors are trained on the importance of civil registration and documentation and on regularization procedures.
3. Improving the protection of stateless children in key areas
Goal: Marabaous (religious leaders), civil servants and parents of Talibe children are sensitized and aware of the importance of registering births in order to secure continued access to education.