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TITLE:  SENEGAL HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1993                            
DATE:  JANUARY 31, 1994


Senegal is a Republic with an elected President, Abdou Diouf, 
who has been in office since 1981, and a unicameral legislature 
controlled by the President's Socialist Party (PS) since 
independence from France in 1960.  Diouf and the PS again won 
presidential elections in February and legislative elections in 
May (gaining 84 of the National Assembly's 120 seats).  The 
opposition parties, led by the Senegalese Democratic Party 
(PDS, which won 27 seats), charged extensive fraud in the 
presidential and legislative elections.  However, after much 
controversy and delay, the Constitutional Court subsequently 
certified the presidential and later the legislative results as 
official.  International observers noted that there had been 
irregularities in the presidential voting, but declared the 
election had been generally "free and fair."

The postelection period was further marred, first by the 
assassination of Babacar Seye, the Vice President of the 
Constitutional Court (Supreme Court), as votes were being 
certified for the National Assembly election, and then by the  
Government detaining and later charging several opposition 
figures, including Abdoulaye Wade, presidential contender on 
the PDS ticket, with the Seye murder.

The Senegalese armed forces, numbering about 15,000, are 
professional and disciplined.  They traditionally remain aloof 
from politics.  The paramilitary gendarmerie reportedly is less 
professional and less disciplined.  The armed forces became the 
center of controversy in operations in the southernmost region 
of Senegal, the Casamance region, against the separatist group, 
the Movement of Democratic Forces of the Casamance (MFDC).  
There were a number of reports of serious abuses by both the 
military forces and particularly by the MFDC (see below and 
Section 1.g.).  Eventually, the Government signed a cease-fire 
agreement on July 8 with the MFDC.  At year's end, the 
cease-fire agreement appeared to be holding.

Senegal is overwhelmingly agricultural, with more than 70 
percent of the labor force engaged in farming, largely in 
peanut production.  Since 1983 the Government has pursued a 
structural adjustment program, supported by the International 
Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and major bilateral donors, 
intended to reduce the role of government, to encourage the 
private sector, and to stimulate economic growth.  Nonetheless, 
the economy remained depressed.  An emergency plan adopted in 
August by the National Assembly, which included a 15 percent 
reduction in civil servants' salaries, met strenuous opposition 
from trade unions, opposition parties, and merchants' 
associations in the form of repeated strikes.

Although traditionally Senegal has had a strong record in 
support of human rights, there were serious human rights abuses 
in 1993 against a background of deepening internal political 
conflict over the elections and the Seye assassination, 
declining economic performance with several general strikes, 
and extensive military and terrorist operations in the 
Casamance with high death tolls (over 200 persons killed).  The 
MFDC, in particular, committed many acts of violence, including 
torture, beatings, and extrajudicial killing of villagers in 
the Casamance.  On February 21 alone, the day of the 
presidential elections, MFDC members killed 24 persons, thereby 
carrying out a previously issued threat to attack Casamance 
voters and politicians, and a landmine reportedly planted by 
the MFDC killed 20 others.  Government troops reportedly killed 
80 MFDC rebels and took no prisoners during a March battle; the 
press and local human rights groups charged the army with 
committing extrajudicial killings.  The Government failed, 
however, to investigate.  According to the independent press, 
the army also reportedly engaged in indiscriminate shelling of 
civilian targets in the Casamance.  There was one credible 
report that police tortured a prominent Member of Parliament 
(M.P.)--the Government was extremely slow to investigate and 
has yet to punish the perpetrators--and police reportedly 
sometimes use force in questioning suspects.  Few, if any, 
police are tried and punished for such abuses.  Other human 
rights problems include some restrictions on freedom of the 
press (including government domination of the electronic 
media), and on freedom of association, and domestic violence 
and discrimination against women.


Section 1  Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including
           Freedom from:

     a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

There was one death as a result of police firing on an unarmed 
political demonstration by opposition M.P.'s and others in 
November (see Section 2.b.).  For details on killings connected 
with separatist-related violence in the Casamance region, 
including the deaths of seven Red Cross workers by a landmine 
explosion see Section 1.g.  In that violence, MFDC rebels 
assassinated the president of the rural community of Oukou, 
Omar Diatta, on April 13 because of his support for the 

Unknown assailants killed the first Vice-President of Senegal's 
Constitutional Court, Babacar Seye, on May 15.  Seye was killed 
as he drove home from downtown Dakar following the first day of 
the Court's deliberations on the provisional results of 
Senegal's May 9 legislative election.  On May 18, police 
apprehended PDS opposition leader Abdoulaye Wade and two senior 
advisers, Ousmane Ngom and Jean Paul Dias, for questioning.

On May 19, police arrested two more alleged PDS supporters, 
Cleodore Sene and Pape Ibrahama Diakhate, in The Gambia.  Sene 
reportedly confessed to driving the hit car and implicated PDS 
supporter Assane Diop, Wade's financial counselor, Samuel Sarr, 
and PDS deputy Mody Sy.  On May 28, Sene recanted his testimony 
in letters to Wade and to the independent press.  Sene claimed 
that members of the ruling PS planned and financed the murder 
in order to discredit the PDS.  On June 9, the National 
Assembly set up a commission to follow developments in the 
investigation of the Seye assassination.  It had not issued a 
report by year's end.

Subsequently, on October 1, the governmental authorities 
charged Abdoulaye Wade, his wife, Viviane, and PDS deputies 
Abdoulaye Faye and Ousmane Ngom, with complicity in the 
assassination and compromising the security of the State.  All 
four remained free.  According to the Constitution, since Wade, 
Faye, and Ngom are sitting members of the National Assembly, 
the Assembly would have to waive their immunity before they 
could be tried.  The five others arrested in connection with 
the Seye murder remained in jail at year's end; Sene, Diakhate, 
and Diop on charges of murder, and Sarr and Sy on charges of 

     b.  Disappearance

There were no reports of politically motivated disappearances.  
Ibou Sagna and Famara Bodian, two MFDC rebels who, according to 
a September 1992 report in the independent press, disappeared 
after being detained by the army near Kaguite, have not been 

     c.  Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading
         Treatment or Punishment

While the authorities generally respect the legal prohibition 
on physical abuse, there are credible reports that police 
sometimes subject detainees to beatings and other mistreatment, 
often during the "garde a vue" (detention) period between 
arrest and appearance before a magistrate.  Moreover, there was 
credible evidence that Mody Sy, PDS M.P., was subjected to 
electroshock torture immediately after his arrest on May 20.  
The Government took 9 days to comply with the request by Sy's 
lawyer for a medical examination and was otherwise slow to 
investigate this matter.  At year's end, he remained in jail.  
No trial date had been set.

There were credible reports of torture of villagers by factions 
of the MFDC.  These usually consisted of beatings, some of 
which resulted in death.  There were also credible reports that 
women were raped by MFDC forces prior to the July 8 
cease-fire.  There were no reports of rape or abuse by 
government officials.  Some of the MFDC violence was aimed at 
1993 electoral activities (see Section l.g.).

Prisons are overcrowded, and food and health care are 
inadequate.  As a result, prisoners may suffer life- or 
health-threatening conditions.

     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

The Constitution's prohibitions against arbitrary arrest and 
detention are generally respected.  However, there was 
considerable question regarding the evidence used as the basis 
for the arrest and detention of PDS members for the 
assassination of Constitutional Court Judge Seye.  One of the 
major witnesses in the case first implicated the other 
defendants and then recanted his testimony.  However, the 
lawyers for the defendants continue to request evidence from 
the court to support the charges.

Warrants, issued by judges, are required for arrests.  A person 
suspected of a crime may legally be held without charge for 48 
hours after arrest and may be held up to 72 hours if ordered by 
a public prosecutor.  This period may be doubled legally in the 
case of crimes against the security of the State.  Senegalese 
law has no writ of habeas corpus.

During temporary detention, the prisoner has no access to 
family or to an attorney.  After the prisoner is charged, both 
the family and an attorney are permitted visits.  In the case 
of the PDS members, on October 8 the detainees claimed that 
they were denied family visiting privileges.  Temporary custody 
is valid for a maximum period of 6 months, but it may be 
renewed for additional 6-month periods if the investigating 
magistrate certifies that more time is required.  Extended 
"temporary" detention or custody is permitted when civil 
authorities determine that there is a threat of civil unrest or 
that a person is a threat to himself or others.  Courts may 
review decisions of extended detention or custody.

In May the authorities arrested in Dakar six M.P.'s, members of 
two opposition parties, for participating in a demonstration 
which the Government had banned.  They were released shortly 
afterwards.  The deputies were demonstrating for the release of 
opposition PDS deputy Mody Sy.  The PDS alleged that the arrest 
and indictment of its members in the Seye murder case was 
arbitrary and politically motivated.

In July, 256 Senegalese, who were being held on separatist 
activity charges, were released from jail.  Their release came 
as part of the implementation of the cease-fire accord signed 
between the Government and the MFDC on July 8, 1993.

Exile is not used as a means of political control.  The leader 
of the southern front of the MFDC, Abbe Diamacoune Senghor, 
reportedly lived in self-exile in Guinea-Bissau for 8 months.  
On March 20, Senghor returned to Ziguinchor, in the Casamance 
region of Senegal.  Police did not attempt to take him into 

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

Senegal has an active and well-trained judiciary, which is 
constitutionally independent of the executive, the legislature, 
and the armed forces.  However, low pay, poor working 
conditions, and family and political ties make magistrates 
vulnerable to outside pressures.  Moreover, the role of the 
Constitutional Court became highly controversial and political 
in 1993 in certifying national elections.  The Court President, 
Keba Mbaye, resigned in March before the presidential vote was 
certified, admonishing politicians to respect the electoral 
process.  There were reports that the PS had pressured Mbaye to 
change the election results.  The Court subsequently dismissed 
opposition claims of election malpractices in May 1993.

Constitutionally, defendants are presumed innocent until proven 
guilty.  Trials are public, and defendants have the right to be 
present in court, to confront witnesses, to present evidence, 
and to have a defense attorney.  Despite a provision for 
defendants to have a lawyer at public expense, in practice some 
defendants are denied legal assistance due to lack of funding.

Ordinary courts are presided over by a panel of judges.  In 
criminal cases ordinary citizens also serve on the panel.  
Although three new courts were created in May 1992 to replace 
the Supreme Court, which was abolished in accordance with the 
Election Code, they are understaffed and in some cases are not 
fully functional.  The new courts are the Council of State for 
Administrative Questions, the Constitutional Council for 
Matters Relating to the Constitution, and a Court of Appeals.

There are three other categories of special courts, two of 
which have rarely met, i.e., the High Court of Justice, created 
for the sole purpose of trying senior government officials for 
treason or malfeasance, and the Court for the Repression of the 
Unlawful Accumulation of Wealth, and the military court 
system.  Civilians may not be tried by military courts.  The 
right of appeal exists in all courts except military courts and 
in the special "illegal enrichment" Court.

There were no political detainees or prisoners at the end of 
1993 except for those held in connection with the Babacar Seye 
assassination and religious leader Moustapha Sy, who is also 
being detained for "various offenses against the Head of State."

     f.  Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or

The Constitution prohibits arbitrary invasion of the home, and 
there is relatively little government interference in the 
private lives of citizens, particularly in the rural areas.  
Search warrants normally are required and may be issued only by 
judges and in accordance with procedures established by law.  
In practice, however, searches without warrants occasionally 
take place.

     g.  Use of Excessive Force and Violations of Humanitarian
         Law in Internal Conflicts

There have been repeated violations of human rights in the 
southernmost region of Senegal, the Casamance region, mainly 
committed by the MFDC, but also by the army and the 
gendarmerie.  Most of the violations took place prior to the 
cease-fire on July 8 between the Government and the MFDC.  The 
MFDC, a predominantly Diola minority ethnic group, has been 
campaigning for the independence of the Casamance region for 
over 10 years.  Until August 1992, the military and gendarmes 
had been restricted to their barracks as required by the May 
1991 Agreement of Bissau between the Government and the MFDC.  
However, as rebel activity increased in the Casamance, 
government forces redeployed and engaged the MFDC units in 
several battles.

Several MFDC-initiated incidents heightened tensions, beginning 
with the death of seven Red Cross workers on January 25 by mine 
explosions.  On the day of the presidential election, February 
21, MFDC troops killed 24 persons, following MFDC threats to 
attack Casamance voters and politicians.  The separatist 
movement had previously announced a ban on politics and voting 
in the Casamance.  The MFDC was also held responsible for the 
deaths of 20 other persons that day when a mine blew up under a 
van rented by the Socialist Party to bring its members to the 

In larger engagements between the Senegalese army and MFDC 
rebels, the fighting in March at Badem, near Ziguinchor, left 
80 dead, and a major battle in April near the town of Oussouye 
resulted in at least 100 rebels and 3 government soldiers 
dead.  While estimates varied widely, the two battles resulted 
in the highest death tolls in the recent history of Casamance 
violence.  As the military held few MFDC rebel prisoners 
following these significant engagements, the local press and 
local human rights associations charged that the army had 
engaged in extrajudicial killings.  These charges could not be 
confirmed, and there had been no followup official 
investigation.  As the MFDC normally does not leave their dead 
or wounded members behind in battle, this could also be a 
possible explanation.

The press and other observers not only questioned the 
military's action in these major battles but also criticized 
the army for periodic indiscriminate shelling of suspected 
rebel areas, which jeopardized the lives of innocent 
civilians.  There were several incidents following the July 8 
cease-fire, including in September the killing of a young MFDC 
member during a search at a police checkpoint.

The number of civilian deaths due to the fighting in the 
Casamance in 1993 could not be determined but was believed to 
be as high as 250.  No one has been charged in any of the above 

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

While the Constitution provides for freedom of speech and 
press, the press is restricted by laws prohibiting the 
expression of views which "discredit" the State, incite the 
population to disorder, or disseminate "false news."  No one 
was prosecuted under these laws in 1993, although religious 
leader Moustapha Sy has been charged with offenses against the 
State.  In 1993 numerous daily and weekly independent 
newspapers began circulation.  Prior to this, Le Soleil, a 
newspaper controlled by the Government, had been the sole 
daily.  A broad spectrum of thought and opinion is available 
through regularly published magazines and newspapers.  The 
broadcast media is controlled, not through self-censorship, but 
by government licensing arrangements for radio and by the fact 
that the government operates the only television station.

Political views expressed in the independent press are often 
critical of the Government and its programs; government 
officials, politicians, and the political parties participating 
in the Government are not immune.  Publishers are required to 
register with the Central Court prior to starting publication, 
but such registrations are routinely approved.  Publications, 
including foreign publications critical of the Government, were 
not censored or banned.  Press coverage of the 1993 
presidential and legislative elections was extensive in all 
dailies, although Le Soleil heavily weighted its coverage 
towards the ruling party.

Access to the electronic media is controlled by the Government 
and continued to pose problems for opposition parties in the 
1993 elections.  The authorities expanded broadcast media 
coverage of opposition party activities but relegated it to 
off-peak hours.  There is no other television service available 
to the general public, and the only domestically produced radio 
broadcasting is from the government station.  The Government 
approved an application for a private radio station but with 
conditions that made it financially unrealistic for the owner 
to begin operating, i.e., high payments to the state-owned 
radio and television corporation and limitations on advertising.

Schools and universities enjoy academic freedom.

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

In general, Senegalese freely exercise their constitutional 
rights of assembly and association, although demonstrations or 
protest meetings against government policies are monitored 
closely by security forces.  Prior authorization for public 
demonstrations is required.  During the 1993 election period, 
the Government allowed the opposition parties to hold 
preelection rallies, but it also arrested six opposition 
members in May for participating in a demonstration not 
authorized by the Government (see Section 1.d.).  Three M.P.'s 
and some 87 others were found guilty on November 12 of 
participating in an illegal demonstration called for by the 
political opposition on November 5 to protest cuts in civil 
service salaries and the jailing of Moustarchadine leader 
Moustapha Sy.  The police retaliated with heavy doses of tear 
gas to disperse the crowd and at one point used live 
ammunition, killing one person.

Senegalese wishing to form associations must register with the 
Ministry of Interior except for business-related associations, 
which are registered with the Ministry of Commerce.  By law and 
in practice, the Ministry of Interior is obliged to register 
such groups, so long as the objectives of association are 
clearly stated and are not in violation of the law.

     c.  Freedom of Religion

Senegal is a secular State, and freedom of religion, a legal 
right, exists in practice.  Islam is the religion of 94 percent 
of the population; other religions are also practiced freely.  
Missionary activity is permitted, and foreign Protestant 
missionaries are active in several regions of the country.

Conversion is permitted, and there is no discrimination against 
minority religions.  In theory, adherence to a particular 
religion confers no official advantage or disadvantage in 
civil, political, economic, military, or other sectors.  In 
practice, membership in an Islamic sect may afford certain 
political and economic privileges.  Both Islamic and Christian 
organizations publish periodicals.  Koranic and Catholic 
schools exist alongside the public school system, and the 
Mouride Brotherhood, an Islamic sect, has an Islamic university 
in its headquarters city of Touba.

     d.  Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign
         Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation

The Constitution provides all citizens the right to travel and 
establish themselves freely anywhere in Senegal, a right 
respected in practice.  Exit visas are not required for travel 
outside the country.

There is no restriction on emigration, and repatriates are not 
disadvantaged on their return to Senegal.  A Senegalese citizen 
by birth may not have his citizenship annulled for any reason.  
A naturalized citizen may have his citizenship revoked if it is 
proved in a court of law that he obtained his citizenship 
fraudulently or if he has been convicted of a crime and has 
been a citizen less than 15 years.

Ethnic violence against Senegalese in Mauritania and 
Mauritanians in Senegal in 1989 resulted in the breaking of 
relations between the two countries and the repatriation of 
thousands of Senegalese and Mauritanian nationals.  Senegal 
accepted back its own nationals and provided asylum to 
Afro-Mauritanians expelled by the Government of Mauritania.  At 
year's end, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees 
(UNHCR) had registered 55,000 refugees from Mauritania, most 
from the Toucouleur and Peulh ethnic groups.

Refugees have freedom of movement and are not subject to forced 
repatriation.  An estimated 80 percent would like to return to 
Mauritania.  Refugees say that their return is hindered by 
problems of identity and citizenship documentation, by lack of 
funds, and by the refusal of the Government of Mauritania to 
guarantee their security, indemnify them, and recognize their 

While relations between the Governments of Senegal and 
Mauritania were reestablished and borders were reopened in 
1992, indemnification talks between the two Governments in 
Paris had not yet resolved the issue of voluntary repatriation 
for Mauritanian refugees by the end of 1993.

Because of violence and instability in the Casamance region of 
Senegal, approximately 18,000 Senegalese refugees remained in 
Guinea-Bissau and 2,000 in The Gambia at the end of 1993.  
Several thousand more villagers were displaced within the 
Casamance region prior to the July 8 cease-fire because of MFDC 
rebel activity, interethnic violence, and Senegalese army 

Section 3  Respect for Political Rights:  The Right of Citizens
           to Change Their Government

Senegalese have the constitutional right to change their 
government through periodic multiparty elections.  Even so, the 
domination of Senegalese political life by the Socialist Party, 
which has held power since independence, has called into 
question the extent to which citizens have been able to 
exercise that right.  President Abdou Diouf was declared 
reelected in February 1993 with 53 percent of the vote, a 
victory that gives him a 7-year term in office.  (His previous 
two terms were for 5 years.)  The closest presidential 
contender, Abdoulaye Wade, received 32 percent of the vote, and 
the other six candidates, collectively, received just under 10 
percent.  Approximately 60 percent of the 2.5 million 
registered voters participated in the election.  Under the new 
Electoral Code, the secret ballot was introduced and the voting 
was lowered to 18 years.

Despite the new Electoral Code, which had been drafted with the 
opposition, opposition party members alleged that the governing 
Socialist Party had orchestrated fraud in the preelection phase 
and on election day.  These charges were given credibility when 
the new all-party National Tabulation Commission (NTC) was 
unable to reach consensus, and the head of NTC suddenly 
resigned implying she had been under pressure from the 
Government.  Opposition parties petitioned the Constitutional 
Court to reject a number of votes said to have been invalidated 
by irregular procedures.  Amidst much controversy, the 
Constitutional Court finally certified the results of the 
February 21 presidential election 3 weeks after the vote, 
ruling that the voting irregularities did not affect the 
integrity and validity of the election outcome.

In the May legislative elections, the ruling party, the PS, won 
84 of 120 assembly seats, followed by the PDS with 27.  Four 
other opposition parties divided the remaining nine.  Following 
the procedural revisions of Senegal's new Electoral Code, 
enacted by the National Assembly prior to the May elections, 
the Constitutional Court certified the May 9 legislative 
election results within the newly mandated period of 10 days.  
While there are 20 legal political parties, most with small 
memberships, the 1993 elections pointed to the possibility of 
an emerging two party system, the PS, and the PDS.

Of the 29 ministers who make up the President's Cabinet, only 2 
are women.  There are no women heading a political party, and 
only 9 women deputies are represented in the 120-member 
National Assembly.  Their underrepresentation reflects the 
disparity in education, as many girls are not educated beyond 
the primary level.  It also represents, in part, cultural 
pressures that dictate women should assume subservient roles.

Section 4  Governmental Attitude Regarding International and
           Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations
           of Human Rights

There are at least eight Senegalese human rights associations.  
All are free to criticize the Government publicly, although 
none has done so directly.

The Government allows international human rights groups to 
investigate allegations concerning human rights abuses and 
generally responds to requests for information about 
allegations.  However, the Government did not undertake a 
formal investigation after Amnesty International asked the 
Government to look into the May 1993 charges by Mody Sy that he 
was tortured after arrest (see Section l.c.).

Section 5  Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion,
           Disability, Language, or Social Status

The Constitution states that "men and women shall be equal in 
law."  Officially, there is no discrimination based on race, 
religion, sex, or language, but de facto discrimination against 
women is pervasive.


Despite constitutional provisions, women face extensive 
societal discrimination, especially in the rural areas where 
Islamic and Senegalese customs, including polygyny and Islamic 
rules of inheritance, are strongest and where women are 
confined to traditional roles.  There is no legal 
discrimination against women in the law of inheritance.  In the 
countryside, women perform much of the subsistence farming and 
childrearing and have only very limited opportunities for an 
education.  Traditional practices, for example, make it 
difficult for women to acquire sufficient collateral to obtain 
bank credit.  According to a U.N. study, only 20 percent of 
Senegalese women are in paid employment.  Women usually marry 
young (the majority by age 16 in rural areas), average seven 
live births, and die relatively young.  About 57 percent of 
women between the ages of 40 and 45 live in polygynous unions.  

Despite government encouragement, there is still much 
discrimination against females in educational opportunities.  
Overall, females receive less than one-third of the schooling 
received by males.

In the urban areas, women are active in government, political 
life, and business--although few are in top positions--and the 
Government has taken some steps to change the laws.  For 
example, modifications to the law on family matters, adopted by 
the National Assembly in 1988, reinforced women's rights to 
divorce, alimony, child support, and employment, although such 
laws are often not effectively enforced, particularly in the 
rural areas where the majority of women live.  Women receive 
equal pay for equal work.  Among the women's groups working for 
change are Women, Rights, and Development, Yewwe Yewwe, Women 
for Development and Enterprise in Africa, the African 
Federation of Women of Senegal, and the African Center for 
Integrated Development.

There are credible reports that violence against women, usually 
wife beating, is common, particularly in rural areas.  Police 
do not normally intervene in domestic disputes, and women are 
reluctant to go outside the family for redress.  Persons 
convicted of rape may be sentenced for up to 10 years in 
prison, and more if the victim is a minor.


The Government supports the protection of children's rights and 
welfare.  It established in 1990 the Ministry of Women, 
Children, and the Family which has the responsibility for 
promoting children's welfare.  Organizations active in support 
of children's rights include the Senegalese Association for 
Education and the Promotion of Human Rights, and the 
Inter-African Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting the 
Health of Women and Children.

There are no laws or regulations prohibiting female genital 
mutilation (circumcision), which has been condemned by 
international experts as damaging to both physical and 
psychological health.  Female circumcision is not practiced by 
Senegal's largest ethnic group, the Wolofs, but it is performed 
on girls belonging to other ethnic groups.  According to an 
independent expert, the percentage of Senegalese girls who have 
undergone this procedure may be as high as 50 percent.  Genital 
mutilation generally occurs at the age of 9.  Infibulation, the 
most extreme and dangerous form of genital mutilation, is 
practiced only by the Toucouleur and Peulh ethnic groups.  
Perhaps 6 percent of Senegalese women have undergone this 
procedure.  Among other activities, the Ministry of Women, 
Children, and the Family promotes programs to educate village 
women to the dangers of genital mutilation.

     People with Disabilities

There is no overt discrimination against the handicapped.  In 
practice, persons with physical disabilities are unable to 
participate in almost all mainstream occupations due to 
physical barriers and lack of equipment that would make such 
participation possible.  There are no laws or regulations that 
mandate accessibility.

Section 6  Worker Rights

     a.  The Right of Association

The rights of workers in the formal wage sector are protected 
by the proworker Labor Code of 1961.  All workers have the 
right of association and are free to form or join unions.  A 
minimum of seven persons, each having worked within the trade 
for at least 1 year, may form a trade union by submitting a 
list of members and a charter to the Ministry of Interior.  Not 
all unions, however, get registered.  The International Labor 
Organization's (ILO) Committee on Freedom of Association, in 
November 1993, while ruling on the case presented by the 
General Confederation of Democratic Workers of Senegal (CGTDS), 
deplored the fact that for 17 years the Ministry of Interior 
has not provided the CGTDS with a formal acknowledgement of the 
deposition of its bylaws.  A union may be disbanded by the 
Ministry if the union's activities deviate from its charter.  
The Labor Code is not applied to the informal and agricultural 

Although unions sometimes fail to obtain initial recognition, 
once received, recognition is virtually never withdrawn.  Even 
though they represent a small percentage of the working 
population, unions wield significant political influence 
because of their ability to disrupt vital sectors of the 

The small industrial component of the total work force of 3.9 
million is almost totally unionized.  More than 70 percent of 
the labor force is engaged in agriculture.  There are no unions 
in the agrarian sector except for the workers employed at the 
Senegalese Sugar Company (CSS).  The CSS is the only plantation 
in Senegal, and it offers its employees about the same standard 
of living as those in industry.

The National Confederation of Senegalese Workers (CNTS), the 
largest union organization, has close ties to the ruling PS, 
and its members hold a considerable number of government 
positions as well as 12 of the PS seats in the National 
Assembly.  While ostensibly an independent organization, the 
umbrella CNTS has supported government policies.

The rival to the CNTS is the National Union of Autonomous Labor 
Unions of Senegal (UNSAS).  UNSAS is a federation of 
strategically important unions, such as those of electricians, 
telephone and telegraph workers, teachers, water technicians, 
hospital and railroad workers, and sugar producers.  UNSAS 
reportedly has no specific political orientation.

The smaller union organizations include the Democratic Union of 
Senegalese Workers, which is composed mostly of unskilled 
workers in the private sector, and the Coordination of 
Autonomous Trade Unions, composed of some teachers, urban 
transit workers, and two smaller organizations.

The unions continue to operate under the Labor Code of 1961.  A 
revised code, put forward in 1989, has still not come before 
the National Assembly.  The Government has not renewed its 
efforts to revise the Labor Code, reportedly in an attempt to 
appease the unions.  Some suggested revisions, for example 
granting more employer flexibility on terminating and laying 
off employees, would dilute the power of the unions.

The right to strike is provided for in the Constitution and in 
the Labor Code.  However, there are restrictions.  Unions 
representing members of the civil service must request 
permission to strike 1 month in advance.  Private sector unions 
must request permission 3 days in advance.  The Government has 
the right to approve or disapprove a strike request.  Four 
trade union federations--CNTS, UNSAS, and two smaller 
organizations--conducted a 1-day general strike on September 
2.  The peaceful strike protested the August 24 adoption by the 
National Assembly of austerity measures, including a 15-percent 
cut in civil service wages and a 4-percent reduction in private 
sector wages.  A series of 3-day, less successful general 
strikes and demonstrations against the cuts took place in 
October, with sporadic acts of violence, some directed toward 
those transportation workers who did not participate in the 

The September 2 strike successfully closed down most businesses 
and the airport.  Subsequent, unauthorized strikes were 
relatively unsuccessful.  The Government responded by first 
firing and then reinstating some civil service personnel who 
were absent from work and by using large amounts of tear gas to 
disperse crowds.  On November 16 and November 23, the 
Government authorized a labor group, the National Union of 
Autonomous Unions (UWSAS), and one political party, the Party 
for Democracy and Socialism, to hold sit-ins and 
demonstrations.  The reason for the strikes continued to be 
opposition to the government-mandated civil service wage cut.

The Labor Code permits unions to affiliate with international 
bodies.  CNTS is active in regional and international labor 
organizations and is the dominant Senegalese member of the 
Organization of African Trade Union Unity.  The UNSAS is not 
affiliated with any regional or international labor 

     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

Senegalese unions have the right by law to organize and to 
bargain collectively, and these rights are protected in 
practice.  There are also legal prohibitions governing 
discrimination by employers against union members and 
organizers.  Employers found guilty of antiunion discrimination 
are required to reinstate workers.  During 1993 there were no 
known instances of workers being forcibly discouraged from 
exercising the right to organize and bargain collectively.  The 
Ministry of Labor will intervene in disputes between labor and 
management when requested, and it plays a mediation and 
arbitration role in the private and state enterprise sectors.

Senegalese labor laws apply in principle to all industrial 
firms, including those in the export free zone in Dakar.  
However, firms operating in the free zone and those eligible 
for benefits under the Investment Code enjoy certain exceptions 
to the Labor Code.  Unlike other businesses in the formal 
sector, these firms do not need prior government authorization 
to dismiss employees, and they may hire workers on renewable 
temporary contracts for a period of up to 5 years.

     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

There were no reports of forced labor, and it is prohibited by 

     d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children

The minimum age for employment is 16 years for apprenticeships 
and 18 for all other types of work.  Inspectors from the 
Ministry of Labor closely monitor and enforce these 
restrictions within the formal wage sector, which includes 
state-owned corporations, large private enterprises, and 
cooperatives.  On the other hand, children under 15 frequently 
are employed in the much larger traditional or informal sector, 
and minimum age and other workplace regulations are not 
enforced on family farms in rural areas or in small 
businesses.  Hours of young workers are not limited compared to 
the regular work force.

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

Legislation mandating a monthly minimum wage has been in force 
since independence in 1960.  The actual rate is determined by 
the Ministers of Labor and Finance after negotiating with the 
unions and management councils.  The minimum wage of about 
$0.70 (200 CFA) per hour is not adequate to support a worker 
and family, and workers must frequently supplement incomes 
through second jobs and reliance on the extended family.

Within the formal economic sector, Senegalese law mandates:  a 
standard workweek of 40 to 48 hours for most occupations, with 
at least one 24-hour rest period; 1 month per year of annual 
leave; enrollment in government systems for social security and 
retirement; safety standards and a variety of other measures.  
These regulations are incorporated into the Labor Code and are 
supervised by inspectors from the Ministry of Labor.  
Enforcement, however, appears to be uneven, especially outside 
the formal sector.

There are no explicit legal protections for workers who file 
complaints about unsafe conditions.  While there are 
regulations on the books concerning workplace safety, they are 
often not enforced.

[end of document]


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