U.S. Embassy COTONOU
Benin: Disposition of Remains Report
May 30, 2018
The following information is submitted in accordance with referenced requirements to provide current data on Beninese law governing and costs of the disposition of remains. The local regulations and policies remain the same.
Part I. Name of Country
Part II. U.S. Embassy or Consulate Information
Tel. (229) 21 30 06 50
Fax: (229) 21 30 03 84
Visa and American Citizen Services
Part III. Profile of Religions of the Host Country and Religious Services available to visitors.
Country Profile: Host Country Religions
The U.S. government estimates the total population at 10.7 million (July 2016 estimate). According to
the 2013 census, 48.5 percent is Christian, 27.7 percent Muslim (mostly Sunni), 11.6 percent Voodoo,
2.6 percent indigenous religious groups, and 2.6 percent other religious groups. The largest Christian
denominations are Roman Catholic with 25.5 percent of the population and Celestial Christian with 6.7
percent. Groups each constituting less than 5 percent associated with other religions (see below). The census reported 5.8 percent declare no religious affiliation. Many individuals who identify themselves with other religions also practice Voodoo or other traditional religions in some form. Northern Benin is where Muslims populations are more heavily concentrated, while southern, coastal areas are more heavily populated by Christians.
Religious Activities For Visitors
In addition to more prominent Roman Catholic, Celestial Christian, and Sunni Muslim populations, there are also small populations in Benin of Bahais, Baptists, Eckankar, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Methodists, Mormons (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), Pentecostals, Shia Muslims, members of the Unification Church, and followers of the Family Federation of World Peace.
Part IV. Funeral Directors, Mortician and Related Services Available in the Host Country: Major mortuaries used by U.S. citizens, if applicable name, address, phone/fax, contact names, quality of services, service cost.
DISCLAIMER: The U.S. Embassy Cotonou, Benin assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the following persons or firms. Names are listed alphabetically, and the order in which they appear has no other significance. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the funeral directors, morticians and other service providers.
- Promotion du commerce et de l’industrie PROCI Funeral Home
01 BP 3734 located in the Jonquet , Cotonou (across the street from Night Club 2001)
Director: Mr. HODONOU Coffi Damien : (229) 95 05 30 00/ 97 89 77 77/ 21 31 34 57
Assistant: Mr. Cesar: (229) 97 71 93 96
- PROCI Morgue
Located in Akpakpa, Cotonou (near Sobetex factory)
- Cotonou National University Hospital Morgue (CNHU)
Located in Cotonou on Camp Guezo road
Section chief of the morgue: Mr. AHEHEHINNOU Boniface: (229) 95 85 26 50
- Porto-Novo Public Hospital
Located in Porto-Novo (30 km East of Cotonou)
(229) 20 21 35 90/ 20 21 35 91/ 21 21 35 92
- Les Anges Funeral Home
Located in Abomey Calavi (in front of the University)
(229) 97 22 50 74/95 05 90 25
- AEROTACTIC SARL (freight company in charge of Air- France cargo services)
Located at the Cotonou International Airport (04 BP 131 Cadjèhoun, Cotonou)
Director : Mr Augustin K. AGOSSOU: (229) 21308820/21308907
Fax : +229 21309035 90903545 / 97773278 / 95795939
Email: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Additional Information On service providers:
- Once an agreement is reached, PROCI carries out all required services.
- PROCI has the capability to collect the remains from anywhere in Benin if contacted. The only document PROCI will need is a written authorization from the Consulate to pick up the remains and bring them to Cotonou.
- The Morgue of CNHU only provides storage of the remains brought to them.
- Les Anges Funeral Home of Abomey- Calavi is a private morgue that offers multiple services. The cost varies on the type of services.
Part V. Profile of services available in the Benin regarding preparation and shipment of remains:
Disposition of Remains
When death occurs a medical doctor must confirm the death and deliver an initial death certificate. This document is presented to the Mayor’s office of the municipality in which the death occurred and is used to create the official death certificate recorded in the local public records.
When someone dies, a mortuary service provider is contacted. The Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Health are the government entities authorized to license funeral directors and morticians. Upon receipt of permission from the consular section or the deceased’s family members, the remains will be moved and necessary arrangements will be made to clean, embalm, and refrigerate it. The only document PROCI will need is a written authorization from the Consulate to pick up the remains and bring them to Cotonou.
As Benin is a tropical country, the body must be embalmed in order to avoid deterioration. Embalming must be carried out, as soon as possible, but if the person was sick before dying, no embalming will be performed. When death occurs a doctor must report if body is treatable or not. If death is a result of an infectious disease the Embalming authorization from civil authorities and the Authorization for Burial from civil authorities “Permis d’Inhumer” will not be delivered. All the equipment and products needed for the embalming are available with most of the service providers.
There is no limit to the length of time a body may be stored before and after being embalmed, provided the fees are paid. In all cases, the minimum time for processing is five days. Refrigeration facilities are limited away from coastal areas of Benin, but transport of remains to a refrigerated site is possible, but may take several days.
With the exception of the road linking Cotonou in the south to Malanville on the border with Niger to the north, roads in Benin are generally in poor condition and are often impassable during the rainy season. Where death occurs in the interior of the country, remains may be transported to Cotonou by PROCI. For air transport of remains, Air France and Brussels airlines offer flights into Benin weekly.
- Maximum period Before Burial of Remains; There is no limit to the length of time a body may be stored before and after being embalmed, provided the fees are paid. In all cases, the minimum time for processing is five days.
- Embalming; As Benin is a tropical country, the body must be embalmed in order to avoid deterioration. Embalming must be carried out, as soon as possible, but if the person was sick before dying, no embalming will be performed. Also, there is no embalming in the case of cremation.
- Cremation; Cremation is not possible in Benin, as there are no facilities able to provide the cremation services.
- Caskets and Containers; When remains are to be transported out of Benin, the body is first embalmed. The body is then placed in a galvanized tin coffin with a special filter within a wooden coffin, which is finally placed in a suitable packing case that can support the weight of the container and the remains.
- Exportation of Human Remains; In case of repatriation, the human remains are usually accompanied during transportation to the U.S. by a Peace Corps staff member or Peace Corps Volunteer or by a family member to the United States. Export of remains can be organized in 8 to 10 days
For repatriation of human remains, the following documents will be requested:
- A letter from the NOK or deceased’s legal representative or the consular officer specifying that the service provider is authorized to repatriate the body to the United States.
- An attestation of where the remains should be transported, and the address of the Funeral Home that will receive the remains.
- A consular mortuary certificate
- Exportation of Human Cremains/Ashes; Cremation is not possible in Benin.
- Costs: Charges are based on the exchange rate of April 30, 20xx: $1.00 = 570 FCFA (local currency) and include:
- Local Burial: Fees are average and include collection and transportation of remains, wood casket, funeral home charges, administrative fees and cost of burial in public cemetery: $878 (CFA 500,000)
- Preparation Remains: Basic fees include embalming, collection of remains, documentation costs, wood casket and transfer to airport: $ 2456 (CFA 1,400,000).
- Shipment of Remains; The airfreight charges are determined by the airline according to a special rate which includes transit.
- Exhumation and Shipment; In the event of an exhumation, the service provider must obtain an authorization from the Ministries of Interior and Health, the Police, and the Municipality in which the deceased is buried. Once the authorization is obtained, the exhumation is performed in the presence of representatives of the local Police, the Consulate, and Municipality. Remains buried in a non-galvanized coffin, must be exhumed within a one-year period, whereas a body buried in a galvanized coffin can be exhumed after several years.
Autopsy: The postmortem examination is a service available at the request of the deceased family members or the Consulate.
- It is not possible to remove remains from the host country without embalming, for an autopsy in a third country.
- Pathologists are currently available in-country. If unavailable, a pathologist should be flown or driven by road from neighboring countries instead of transferring the remains to a third country.
- If an autopsy is to be performed, Health Unit representative (for direct- hire Americans), Peace Corps Medical Officer or other representative of Peace Corps (for Peace Corps Volunteers), a consulate representative or the family members (unofficial American citizens) should attend the autopsy and record all significant findings.
- Embalming prior to autopsy limits the information that can be obtained as it makes microscopic and toxicological analyses more difficult or impossible
- Local Customs Regarding Funerals, Disposition of Remains, Mourning, and Memorial Services: The funeral services are conducted in a manner consistent with the religious preference of the deceased, if known. Ministers of the different religious denominations are contacted for service details and specific requirements as requested.