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TITLE:  SENEGAL HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1994
AUTHOR:  U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DATE:  FEBRUARY 1995









                            SENEGAL


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.

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.  Police were responsible for 
a number of serious human rights abuses during the year.

Senegal is predominantly agricultural.  More than 70 percent of 
the labor force is engaged in farming, largely peanut 
production.  Since 1983, the Government has pursued a 
structural adjustment program intended to reduce the role of 
government, encourage the private sector, and stimulate 
economic growth.  Nonetheless, the economy remained depressed.  
A 50-percent devaluation in January of the CFA (the local 
currency pegged to the French franc) has encouraged a 
regeneration of tourism and other major exports.

There were, however, serious human rights abuses in 1994 
arising from internal political conflict over the 1993 
elections, the unresolved case of a judge's assassination in 
1993, and a 1994 opposition party meeting which ended in 
violence and several deaths, including six policemen.  These 
abuses involved the arrest and extended detention of political 
opposition figures without serious evidence, the torture of 
prisoners by police, and the death of a suspect in police 
custody.  Few, if any, police are tried and punished for such 
abuses, and none were in 1994.  Other human rights abuses 
include restrictions on freedom of association, and domestic 
violence and discrimination against women.

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

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

     a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

There were no reports of political killings, but in one 
instance a suspect died in police custody under circumstances 
the Government refused to clarify or investigate.  Police 
arrested Lamine Samb, a member of the Moustarchidine Islamic 
religious sect ("Followers of God") on February 26 and 
questioned him in connection with riots in which eight persons 
had died.  Samb later died in police custody, following 
questioning about the disturbances.  The Government did not 
release an autopsy report and stated in response to inquiries 
from human rights organizations that it had found no police 
responsibility for Samb's death.  It did not state the cause of 
death or otherwise clarify the matter.

     b.  Disappearance

There were no reports of politically motivated disappearances.

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

There are credible reports that police tortured many of the 150 
persons arrested in February in connection with riots that 
erupted following a meeting of Coordination of Democratic 
Forces, a coalition of opposition parties.

Parliamentarian Mody Sy, one of several alleged conspirators in 
the May 1993 assassination of Constitutional Court Vice 
President Babacar Seye, presented credible evidence upon his 
release from jail in June that he was subjected to electroshock 
torture immediately after his arrest on May 20.  Sy's release 
came after a 6-day hunger strike that aggravated an existing 
medical condition.

Prisons remain overcrowded, and food and health care are 
inadequate.  There have been no reported deaths in prison 
caused by these conditions.

     d.   Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

Although the Constitution prohibits arbitrary arrest and 
detention, there continue to be instances in which police 
arrest and detain opponents of the Government, using highly 
questionable evidence.  This was the case again in the arrest 
and detention of opposition party leaders for crimes against 
the security of the State during the February 16 riots.  Police 
charged 150 persons arrested on February 24 with threatening 
state security during these riots.  They included three sitting 
members of the legislature, the head of the Senegalese 
Democratic Party (PDS) Abdoulaye Wade, the Secretary-General of 
the And/Jef-pads opposition party Landing Savane, Deputy Pape 
Omar Kane, Pape Malick Sy, uncle of the jailed Moustarchidine 
leader Moustapha Sy, and over 100 supporters of the 
Moustarchidine religious sect.  The court never ruled whether 
the arrests of the Deputies violated their parliamentary 
immunity, which only the National Assembly has the power to 
waive.  The State avoided the issue by relying on a law known 
as "Flagrant Delit" (caught in the act) which the prosecution 
claimed made it unnecessary to waive the deputies' immunity 
before charging them.  The defendants remained in jail from 
February 18 until July 4.  The Government released them after 
they began a hunger strike on June 30 to protest its failure to 
set a trial date.  On August 30, the court dismissed charges 
against Wade and the five codefendants.  The court ordered that 
the case go forward against 25 others who are members of the 
Moustarchidine Movement and against Moustarchidine leader 
Moustapha Sy (who was in jail on other charges at the time the 
riots took place).  The 25 Moustarchidine defendants received 
fines of up to $500.  All have been released from prison.

Warrants, issued by judges, are required for arrests.  Police 
may legally hold without charge a person suspected of a crime 
for 48 hours after arrest and for up to 72 hours if ordered by 
a public prosecutor.  This period may be doubled in the case of 
crimes against the security of the state.  The prosecutor 
decides whether or not to proceed with the case.  If so, it is 
forwarded to a judge of instruction who can open an 
investigation.  At this point the suspects are preliminarily 
charged.  They may be held over without bail or released on 
their own recognizance.

The law grants the police broad powers to detain prisoners, 
frequently without cause or explanation.  During temporary 
detention, the prisoner has no access to family or an attorney, 
but is allowed to ask for examination by a medical doctor.  
Once a prisoner is charged, both are permitted visits.  Custody 
is valid for 6 months, extendable for 6 additional months if 
the investigating magistrate certifies that more time is 
required.  Extensions of custody are permitted when civil 
authorities determine that there is a threat of civil unrest or 
that a person is a danger to himself or others.  Such 
extensions may be reviewed by a court on appeal from the 
accused's attorney.

Such procedures raise serious questions about the presumption 
of innocence.  In principle, the accused is innocent until 
proven guilty, and when brought to trial it is the State's 
burden to prove that the accused is guilty of the charges 
against him.  The detention process, however, virtually 
presumes guilt.  Police are given the benefit of the doubt and 
may detain a prisoner for long periods of time while they 
investigate and build a case against him.  The first 6 months 
of custody are virtually unchallengeable.  Beyond 6 months, the 
accused may appeal to a court to end custody.  Authorities may 
and routinely do hold prisoners in custody unless and until a 
court demands their release.

Exile is not used as a means of political control.

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

The Constitution calls for a judiciary independent of the 
executive, the legislature and the armed forces.  However, low 
pay, poor working conditions, and family and political ties 
continue to leave magistrates vulnerable to outside pressures.

Except as noted in Section 1.d., defendants are legally 
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.  In practice, however, some defendants are denied 
legal assistance at public expense due to lack of funding.  
Hearings for evidence can be closed to the public and the 
press, as was the case with the March 17 hearings for 
opposition leaders Wade and Savane.

A panel of judges presides over ordinary courts.  In criminal 
cases, ordinary citizens also serve on the panel.  Three courts 
created in May 1992 to replace the Supreme Court remain 
understaffed and only partly functional.  There are three other 
categories of special courts, two of which have rarely met, 
namely the High Court of Justice, created for the sole purpose 
of trying senior government officials for treason or 
malfeasance, the Court for the Repression of the Unlawful 
Accumulation of Wealth, and the Military Court System.  
Military courts may not try civilians.  The right of appeal 
exists in all courts except military courts and in the special 
"Illegal Enrichment" court.

In politically sensitive cases, the Minister of Justice has a 
great deal of authority in scheduling trials.  The prosecution 
also has a substantial ability to delay cases.

The cases of PDS Deputy Mody Sy and PDS financial counselor 
Samuel Sarr, two of the alleged conspirators in the May 1993 
assassination of Judge Babacar Seye, are particularly egregious 
examples of judicial delay.  Sy and Sarr were jailed in May 
1993.  On May 26, 1994, a lower court dismissed charges against 
them, along with PDS Secretary-General Abdoulaye Wade, his wife 
Viviane, and PDS Deputy Ousmane Ngom.  The Attorney General 
appealed the ruling, and, despite constitutional appeals to the 
contrary, Sy and Sarr remained in jail awaiting higher court 
(Cour de Cassation) review.  They were released from detention 
on June 27 after a 6-day hunger strike.  The High Court 
affirmed the dismissal of charges on September 6.  The Court 
ruled that charges should go forward against Pape Diakhate, 
Cleodore Sene, and Assane Diop, the alleged assassins, who have 
been in jail since May 1993.  The Court sentenced the three on 
October 9 to 18, 18, and 20 years, respectively, at hard labor.

Moustapha Sy, Moustarchidine religious leader, was convicted 
for incitement to riot and offenses against the Head of State.  
Sy was sentenced to 1 year in prison on January 14 and fined 
approximately $4,000.  The incident stemmed from a speech 
before a PDS rally in October 1993.  Sy refused to testify at 
his trial, charging that he had committed no crime.  Because of 
his refusal to appear at trial, Sy's lawyers were barred from 
representing him.  President Diouf pardoned Sy on September 12.

There were no political detainees or prisoners at the end of 
1994.

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

The Constitution prohibits arbitrary invasion of the home, and 
there was little government interference in the private lives 
of citizens, particularly in the rural areas.  Normally, search 
warrants are required and only judges may issue them.  In 
practice, however, searches without warrants occasionally take 
place.

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."  For 
example, religious leader Moustapha Sy was convicted under this 
law on January 1 for statements he allegedly made during a 
political meeting (see Section l.e.).

In 1994 numerous daily and weekly independent newspapers 
continued circulation unhindered.  A broad spectrum of thought 
and opinion is available through regularly published magazines 
and newspapers.  Until the debut of Senegal's first independent 
radio station, SUD-FM in July, the Government controlled the 
broadcast media not through self-censorship but by licensing 
arrangements.  Prior to the establishment of SUD-FM, two other 
radio stations provided mostly international news.  The 
Government continued to operate the country's only television 
station.  Two French cable channels offer entertainment but no 
local news coverage.

Political views expressed in the independent press are often 
critical of the Government and its programs.  Government 
officials, politicians, and political parties are not immune.  
Publishers are required to register with the Central Court 
prior to starting publication, but the Government routinely 
approves such registrations.  Publications, including foreign 
publications critical of the Government, were neither censored 
nor banned.  In fact, the Government interceded to get charges 
against the editor of Jeune Afrique magazine dismissed, and a 
court-ordered 1-year ban against the journal's distribution in 
Senegal overturned.

Academic freedom is respected.

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The Government requires prior authorization for public 
demonstrations.  After eight persons died during the February 
riots, the Government severely restricted the constitutional 
rights of assembly and association, including banning all 
activities of the Moustarchidines.  It permitted only two 
public demonstrations by political opposition parties since 
that time.

Senegalese wishing to form associations must register with the 
Ministry of Interior.  Business-related associations are 
registered with the Ministry of Commerce.  By law and in 
practice, the Ministry of Interior must register such groups so 
long as the objectives of association are clearly stated and do 
not violate 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, but citizens also practice other religions 
freely.  Missionary activity is permitted, and foreign 
Christian 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 matters.  In practice, membership 
in an Islamic sect may afford certain political and economic 
protection.  The Moustarchidines had supported the Democratic 
party, including holding protest marches.

     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.  
The Government may revoke the citizenship of a naturalized 
citizen if it is proved in a court of law that the person had 
obtained citizenship fraudulently or was convicted of a crime 
while a citizen for less than 15 years.

Ethnic violence against Senegalese in Mauritania and 
Mauritanians in Senegal in 1989 resulted in the suspension of 
relations between the two countries and the repatriation of 
thousands of Senegalese and Mauritanian nationals.  Senegal 
accepted its own nationals and provided asylum to Afro-
Mauritanians expelled by the Government of Mauritania. 
Approximately 52,000 refugees from Mauritania remain in 
Senegal.  Of this number, several thousand circulate freely, 
and the majority have settled along the bank of the Senegal 
River on the border of the two countries.

Refugees have freedom of movement and are not subject to forced 
repatriation.  While relations between the Governments of 
Senegal and Mauritania were reestablished and borders reopened 
in 1992, the two countries had not resolved the issue of 
voluntary repatriation for Mauritanian refugees by year's end.  
Most of the 13,600 Senegalese refugees in Guinea-Bissau who 
fled the violence in the Casamance region of Senegal have been 
able to remain in Guinea-Bissau due to economic and ethnic 
integration, while observing whether the Casamance peace will 
endure.  About half of the nearly 3,500 Senegalese refugees who 
fled to the Gambia have returned to the Casamance region.

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.  However, the 
Socialist Party's domination of political life--it has held 
power since independence--has called into question the extent 
to which citizens can exercise that right.

The PS holds 84 of the 120 Assembly seats, and the PDS 27.  
Four other opposition parties divide the remaining nine seats.  
The 1992 Electoral Code introduced the secret ballot and 
lowered the voting age to 18 years.  In August the National 
Assembly approved changes to the Electoral Code that eliminated 
"Ordonnances," a much-abused process that allowed individuals 
to vote who, among other things, claimed their identification 
cards had been lost or stolen.

There are no legal impediments to women's participation in 
government and politics, but several de facto impediments 
exist.  Only 2 of the 29 ministers who make up the President's 
Cabinet are women.  There are no women heading political 
parties, and only 9 deputies in the 120-member National 
Assembly are women.  Their lower representation reflects not 
only disparity in education (see Section 5), but also cultural 
pressures, since ministers appointed by the President and 
Deputies owe their election to the National Assembly to their 
ranking on party voting lists.

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

There are at least eight local human rights associations.  All 
are free to criticize the Government publicly.  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 still failed to undertake a formal 
investigation after Amnesty International asked it to look into 
the May 1993 charges by Mody Sy that he was tortured after 
arrest (see Section l.c.).  In response to an Amnesty 
International inquiry into the death of Lamine Samb while in 
custody, the Government denied responsibility (see Section l).

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.

     Women

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 
child-rearing and have only very limited educational 
opportunities.  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 
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 half of all Senegalese women 
live in polygynous unions.  Despite Government encouragement, 
there is still much discrimination against females in 
educational opportunities.  Overall, females receive less than 
one-third the schooling received by males.

In urban areas, women are active in government, political life, 
and business--although few are in top positions.  The 
Government has made some efforts to increase respect for 
women's legal rights to divorce, alimony, child support, and 
employment, but it still does not enforce these rights 
effectively, particularly in rural areas.  In general, women 
receive equal pay for equal work.

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.  Rape is viewed 
as a very serious crime, and rape cases that come to trial have 
produced convictions.  The law stipulates that persons 
convicted of rape may be imprisoned up to 10 years, and more if 
the victim is a minor.

     Children

The Ministry of Women, Children, and the Family, established in 
1990, has the responsibility for promoting children's welfare.  
Organizations active in support of children's rights include 
UNIFEM, 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 (FGM), which has been condemned by international 
experts as damaging to both physical and psychological health.  
FGM 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 
girls who have undergone this procedure may be as high as 50 
percent.  Infibulation, the most extreme and dangerous form of 
genital mutilation, is practiced by the Toucouleur and Peulh 
ethnic groups.  Perhaps 6 percent of women have undergone this 
procedure.  Among its other activities, the Ministry of Women, 
Children, and the Family promotes programs to educate 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

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, succeed in gaining 
recognition, and the Ministry may disband a union if its 
activities deviate from its charter.  The Labor Code does not 
apply to the informal and agricultural sectors.

Although unions sometimes fail to obtain initial recognition, 
once received, the Government virtually never withdraws it.  
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 
economy.

The small industrial component of the total work force of 3.9 
million is almost totally unionized.  The only union in the 
agrarian sector is one representing the workers employed at the 
Senegalese Sugar Company.

The National Confederation of Senegalese Workers (CNTS), the 
largest union organization, has close ties to the ruling PS, 
and union 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).  The 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.  The UNSAS 
reportedly has no specific political orientation.

The Constitution and the Labor Code provide for the right to 
strike, but with restrictions.  Unions representing members of 
the civil service must request permission to strike 1 month in 
advance, and private sector unions must request permission 3 
days in advance.  The Government has the right to approve or 
disapprove a strike request.  Separate strikes by the Union of 
University Professors and the Students' Union led to the 
Government's decision to invalidate the 1993-4 academic year at 
the University of Dakar.

The Labor Code permits unions to affiliate with international 
bodies.  The 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 so 
affiliated.

     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

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.  There were no known instances in which 
workers were forcibly discouraged from exercising the right to 
organize and bargain collectively.  The Ministry of Labor can 
intervene in disputes between labor and management if 
requested, and plays a mediation and arbitration role in the 
private and state enterprise sectors.

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 five years.

     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

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

     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.  Ministry of Labor 
inspectors 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 work in the 
much larger traditional or informal sector, such as family 
farms in rural areas or in small businesses, where the 
Government does not enforce minimum age and other workplace 
regulations.

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

Legislation mandating a monthly minimum wage has been in force 
since the country's independence in 1960.  The Ministers of 
Labor and Finance determine wage rates after negotiating with 
the unions and management councils.  The minimum hourly wage of 
less than $0.50 (about 200 CFA) is not adequate to support a 
worker and family.  Following the devaluation of the CFA franc 
in January, unions and Government failed to reach an agreement 
on an increase in the minimum wage.  Other salaries, depending 
on the sector and level, were increased by 10 to 30 percent.

Within the formal economic sector, the 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 but 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 legal 
regulations concerning workplace safety, government officials 
do not often enforce them.

(###)

[end of document]

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