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Senegal: A community’s commemoration of its missing youth


On 30 August 2015, members of the Gandiole community in Senegal gathered to commemorate the 40 young people who went missing after leaving the village almost a decade earlier. During the event, the ICRC and the Senegalese Red Cross Society distributed leaflets containing legal advice for affected families.

In Senegal, many families are unsure of the fate of loved ones who left for Europe in search of a better life.

In 2006, around 40 young people boarded makeshift boats from the shore of Gandiole, a fishing village in the Saint-Louis region, 275 km from Dakar. Since then, their families have been anxiously waiting for news; no one knows what has become of them. Only memories help to fill the gap they left behind.

On 30 August 2015, two local family-support associations held a commemoration in the village, to coincide with the International Day of the Disappeared. The ICRC and the Senegalese Red Cross supported the organization of the event and distributed leaflets containing legal advice among those who attended. The leaflets are aimed primarily at families, to facilitate their dealings with the authorities responsible for searching for missing people, but they are also a useful resource for local associations and community and religious leaders.

The commemoration attracted a lot of people from the Gandiole community – especially women – as well as local officials. Prayers were offered up in memory of the missing.

The images below capture some of the highlights of the day.

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Click on the legal advice leaflet to download it in French.
The present legal advice leaflet is destined as a resource for community and religious leaders, as well as to workers of associations for families of missing persons.

It contains useful information for families of missing persons in Senegal:

- which administrative process to undertake
- who are the competent authorities to provide help
- what is the utility of these processes

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