21 August 2009 The number of African migrants who leave the Senegalese coast by boat for Europe and the number who perish during the attempt have fallen sharply during the first half of this year, but the country should still intensify its efforts to monitor the situation, an independent United Nations human rights expert said today.
Jorge Bustamante, the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, has commended the efforts of authorities in Senegal to strengthen the rights of migrants and urged them to continue their efforts.
In a statement issued following a five-day visit to the West African country, where he met with senior Government officials, business leaders, labour officials, entrepreneurs, parliamentarians, and representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and civil society groups, Mr. Bustamante noted that Senegal is a country of origin, transition and destination for migrants.
The Special Rapporteur said he was pleased by the “climate of openness and integration” towards migrants who want to settle in Senegal, saying their rights have been strengthened by an improved set of laws.
He also welcomed Senegal’s efforts to spotlight the issue of irregular migration and, through the implementation of bilateral and multilateral accords, to protect the rights of people who try to migrate along dangerous international routes, such as by sea.
Noting that the number of departures by sea and deaths during such journeys has fallen in 2009, Mr. Bustamante said he wanted to encourage Senegalese authorities to continue their efforts to monitor the situation and to further investigate the cause and nature of such attempts at migration.
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