Study on the needs of missing migrants and their families in Senegal

IOM | Missing Migrants Project (IOM)
Publication Year
Thematic Area
Families / The Search Process
Family Needs / Migration
Open access

More than 2,100 migrants died in West Africa and on the region's overseas routes to Europe between 2014 and 2022, according to data from IOM's Missing Migrants Project (MMP). Moreover, the circumstances in which migrants disappear vary and it is sometimes difficult to establish the death with certainty. Indeed, it is also possible that the missing person is alive but does not have the possibility or the will to communicate with his family, because of detention or the fear of detention, for instance. Finally, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), it happens that "the body is never found or, if it is, it isn’t correctly identified or documented”. The adversity encountered in the complex and costly search process itself, without knowing whether the loved one is dead or alive, further increases the proportion of suffering associated with the disappearance.

Issues of the dignity of families and of the dead therefore accompany the issues of strengthening the legal protection systems and material assistance for families. In the spirit of respect for International Law and Human Rights on the rights to life, liberty and security of the person, this study focuses on assessing and evaluating the needs of missing migrants and their families in Senegal. “Barcelona or death” ("Barça or Barsakh" in Wolof); the study on migrant families to their deceased not only informs us of their needs, but also takes stock of the evolution of the migratory phenomenon in Senegal towards Europe and the associated needs for political, legal, and humanitarian action.