Global Overview 2011: People internally displaced by conflict and violence - Senegal

Quick facts
Number of IDPs10,000-40,000
Percentage of total population0.1-0.3%
Start of current displacement situation1982
Peak number of IDPs (Year)70,000 (2007)
New displacementUndetermined
Causes of displacementArmed conflict
Human development index155

Successive peace agreements have failed to put an end to conflict in Senegal's Casamance region, where government forces and the separatist Movement of Democratic Forces in the Casamance (MFDC) have been fighting intermittently since 1982. The ongoing conflict has been caused by factors including cultural discrimination, a lack of livelihood opportunities and an influx of people from other regions following a land reform programme imposed by the government.

There was no reliable data on the overall number of IDPs. Many people had returned since security improved in 2008, but the number whose return had proved sustainable was unknown, as was the number who had successfully integrated in their place of displacement or settled elsewhere. Estimates ranged from 10,000 to 40,000 IDPs in 2011, including some 20,000 to 30,000 in Ziguinchor, the largest city in Casamance.

IDPs stayed with family and friends in areas they deemed to be safe. Their limited access to land there meant they had few livelihood opportunities, but the presence of landmines and the continuing insecurity prevented many from returning to farm in their villages of origin. Infrastructure and basic services also remained poor in areas of return.

Anecdotal evidence has indicated that older IDPs wish to return while younger generations are more interested in integrating locally, especially in urban centres.

Senegal has signed but not ratified the Kampala Convention, and it has not created national bodies or implemented legislation or policies in support of IDPs. Instead, IDPs have been included in wider reconstruction, peace-building and development activities, such as the Programme for Revival of Economic and Social Activities. International agencies have also targeted wider populations with programmes on food security, education, demobilisation and reintegration of combatants, and reconstruction in areas of return. Demining operations continued in 2011.


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