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Mauritanian refugees on hunger strike in Senegal

Mauritanian refugees on hunger strike opposite UNHCR officesMauritanian refugees on hunger strike opposite UNHCR offices (Photo: Kara Thioune/WADR)
June 21, 2012

A number of Mauritanian refugees in Senegal, both women and men, have begun a hunger strike in front of the UNHCR head offices in the capital, Dakar demanding that their status as refugees be regularized.

As their strike entered its third day on Thursday, a spokesman for the refugees, Idrissa Gassama told West Africa Democracy Radio (WADR) that they won’t end their strike until their demands are met.

He said they are demanding proper identification documents as bonafide refugees and that the UNHCR should give them the option to remain as refugees in Senegal or return home at their own free will/time.

On the second day of their action, three of the Mauritanian refugee hunger strikers collapsed and had to be rushed to a local hospital.

Efforts to get reaction from UNHCR authorities have so far proved futile.

WADR’s Kara Thioune speaks with spokesman Idrissa Gassama on why they chose that method to seek redress to their grievances.

Click audio below to listen

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