Benin/Adoption of the asylum bill in Benin: Amnesty defines an advocacy strategy
Amnesty International Benin mobilized on Friday, October 15, 2021, civil society actors around a workshop for advocacy and media communication action for the adoption of the draft law on asylum in Benin. This meeting which took place at Golden Tulip hotel allowed participants to reflect on how to define an advocacy strategy for the adoption of the bill on asylum in Benin.
Organized within the framework of the project "Support and legal assistance to refugees and asylum seekers in Benin", this workshop enabled participants to harmonize their experiences and knowledge in order to define an advocacy strategy. This, with a view to working for the adoption, by the National Assembly, of the draft law on asylum. In his speech, the Executive Director of Amnesty International Benin, Dieudonné Dagbéto, stressed the need to In his speech, the Executive Director of Amnesty International Benin, Dieudonné Dagbéto, stressed the need to provide Benin with legislation that takes into account all aspects of the right to asylum, refugees and stateless persons. In her presentation on the state of play of the Beninese legal context relating to refugees and asylum-seekers, Melanie Yekpe of the National Commission in charge of refugees said that Benin's legislation on refugees and asylum-seekers was not yet in force.In her presentation on the state of play of the Beninese legal context relating to refugees and asylum seekers, Mélanie Yekpe of the National Commission for Refugees stated that Benin is a welcoming country because of its stability and hospitality. Thus, the asylee population in Benin is estimated at 2189, including 1612 refugees and 577 asylum seekers. Most of them are Central Africans, Burkinabes, Ivorians and Malians. After referring to the institutional and legal framework, she highlighted some good practices in asylum protection, including the authorization given to refugees to apply for recruitment to the teaching profession, the establishment of a legal clinic, the establishment of a national centre for the protection of refugees, and the creation of a national network for the protection of refugees.After referring to the institutional and legal framework, she highlighted some good practices in the area of asylum protection, in particular the authorization given to refugees to apply for recruitment to the teaching profession, the establishment of the legal clinic, the affiliation of refugees to the mutual health and social welfare fund, the periodic sensitization of police officers and local elected officials at the borders, etc. However, the legal provisions in force have some weaknesses or shortcomings. These include the non-institution of the principle of non-refoulement, the protection of unaccompanied and separated children and persons with special needs, the loss of status through cancellation, revocation or termination, family reunification, the expulsion of refugees, naturalization and durable solutions. The bill addresses these shortcomings. According to Melanie Yekpe, the bill guarantees effective protection, collective recognition, care for people with special needs, implementation of durable solutions, preserves family unity, avoids the risk of refoulement. Thus, the vote of the said law is more than a challenge for the civil society, especially for Amnesty International Benin. The advocacy strategy defined at the end of the workshop should allow the adoption of the bill for the happiness of refugees and asylum seekers in Benin.