Senegal: NGOs denounce unfair treatment of visa applications for Europe

In Senegal, twenty-seven civil society organisations are calling for the reform of the procedure for applying for French, but also British, Canadian, South African and Spanish visas. They denounce an injustice in the processing of requests between the countries of the North and those of the South, but above all the outsourcing of these requests by States and the establishment of real trafficking of appointments.

For almost two years, the Consulate of France has been outsourcing application procedures in order to reduce waiting times. © The Embassy of France in Dakar

By: RFI Follow


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With our correspondent in Dakar, Léa-Lisa Westerhoff

In this letter, addressed to five European embassies, as well as those of South Africa and the United States, the signatories denounce a veritable and totally opaque obstacle course to obtain a visa.

The main target of the attacks: the management of visa applications by private service providers. What was supposed to be used to relieve congestion in the consulates and avoid free passes has totally failed: the queues are still as long as ever.

A real traffic of appointments

According to Marina Kabu, a member of the collective of civil society organizations for the protection of migrants' rights who initiated this petition, a real traffic has set in, not to obtain a visa, but already to have an appointment at the consulate to submit an application: this can cost up to 600 euros. "How many academics, businessmen, patients, students, parents have not been able to travel for treatment or to participate in forums, because we simply cannot find appointments," she said.

The end of private providers

Because the argument is that with a functioning system, many more Senegalese would get a visa and be able to travel. The 27 signatory organisations are therefore demanding an end to private providers in favour of a more transparent and egalitarian online procedure, where visa refusal would be justified.

These organisations are also calling for reciprocity: the same treatment for Europeans who wish to travel to Senegal.

Read alsoSenegal: how a traffic of appointments to obtain a visa to Europe has set in

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