Meet the PROMIS* Champions

23-11-2020

Every week, we introduce you to one of the PROMIS project champions. People from all over West Africa who, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, have continued to defend the rights of migrants and victims of human trafficking throughout the global health pandemic.

*The PROMIS project is a joint initiative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) that aims to strengthen the capacity of West African states to develop a human rights-based response to migrant smuggling and to respond effectively to human rights violations related to irregular migration. The initial implementation of the project focuses on Mali, Niger, Senegal, The Gambia, and Côte d'Ivoire, with a subsequent extension to other West African countries.

The champion of the week:

Oumy Sya Sadio Doctoral student in Public Law at the Institute of Human Rights and Peace (IDHP) of Cheikh Anta Diop University (UCAD) and holder of a Master 2 in International Relations, she is particularly interested in everything that revolves around the promotion and protection of human rights.

Below is an excerpt from the interview conducted with OHCHR. To read the full interview (in french), click here

 

What is Amnesty International doing to protect the rights of migrants, in particular to ensure access to justice? What is your collaboration with the PROMIS project ? 

Amnesty International Senegal, in partnership with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the PROMIS project, has set up the PROMIS Project whose aim is to promote and protect the rights of migrants by facilitating their access to justice. In this regard, Amnesty Senegal is carrying out activities to inform migrants about international and national texts relating to the conditions of entry and stay of foreigners and the exercise of certain professional activities. We also act to advise migrants by providing them with lawyers when they are subject to legal proceedings but also to assist them in the process of regularizing their situation.

You work with young migrants in Senegal - How has the pandemic affected your activities? and the migrants you work with ?  

The precautionary measures that go with it, made it almost impossible to meet with the authorities concerned, especially the investigating judges in charge of cases concerning migrants who have problems with the justice system and the consuls of the countries of origin of the migrants with whom we collaborate. The precautionary measures taken in the context of the COVID19 pandemic, such as the closure of small businesses and the suspension of certain activities, may further increase their vulnerability.

What trends and issues have you been able to identify since the beginning of the pandemic regarding migrants or migration in general ?

Some of the issues raised by the COVID19 pandemic that may have caught my attention include the following:

- the lack of consideration of migrants in national health prevention and response strategies.

- the exclusion of migrants in national social protection policies for the most vulnerable strata: migrants are particularly affected by the socio-economic consequences. Indeed, the drop in their income due to job loss has led to a significant decline in remittances to their countries of origin, on which millions of families around the world rely.

Do you think you can share with us a "success story", a good practice or a positive story that you may have encountered since the beginning of the pandemic ? 

Among the good practices noted since the beginning of the health crisis, we can mention the actions of Amnesty International Senegal in favor of schools. Indeed, several middle and high schools have received financial support worth 500,000 FCFA. This support is part of the resumption of classes in order to offer better teaching/learning conditions to students and teachers during this pandemic period.

 

For more information:

Discover the PROMIS* champions who are working for the protection and promotion of the human rights of migrants during COVID 19

The interview in full (in French) : Oumy Sya Sadio