Human Rights: General Peace Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Senegal and MFDC

Clause one: The Purpose of the Present Agreement

1. As the law of amnesty is already in force the State engages to provide general security, free circulation of people and goods, in the Casamance as well as in all the rest of the territory, in accordance with the Constitution and to guarantee the exercise of fundamental freedoms in particular freedom of speech and expression in order to favour the political dialogue in the resource-rich region of the Casamance.

Implementation History

2005

No Implementation

In October 2005, freedom of speech was restricted when the government closed down Senegal’s leading private radio for a day under special instructions from the Interior Ministry after the station interviewed one of the leaders of the MFDC. Employees of the station were detained.1 Earlier that year a minor opposition leader was arrested on charges of inciting unrest. The communications ministry released a statement which argued that Senegal’s democratic institutions could not accommodate what it termed assaults that could lead to chaos.2

  • 1. “Senegal: Authorities Close Radios, Detain Staff Over Interview of Separatist Leader,” United Nations Integrated Regional Information Networks, October 17, 2005.
  • 2. “Senegal Government Defends Jailing Opposition Leader,” United States Fed News, May 31, 2005.
2006

No Implementation

According to a news report, the past two years saw an increase in violence against journalists and political activists. Government officials denied violations of freedom of speech.1

  • 1. “VOA News Senegal’s rap artists’ despair over 2007 Elections,” US Fed News, August 4, 2006.
2007

No Implementation

Freedom of speech, press, and assembly were limited nation-wide.4

2008

No Implementation

A report from human rights group Article 19 decried attacks on freedom of speech and freedom of press.5

2009

No Implementation

Amnesty International reported that in general, journalists and opposition politicians were subjected to harassment and legal proceedings for expressing their opinions. Demonstrations were violently suppressed. Overall, there was very little accommodating behavior from the government.6

  • 6. “Senegal must not curtail freedom of expression in election run-up,” Amnesty International, January 26, 2012.
2010

No Implementation

No further developments observed.

2011

No Implementation

No further developments observed.

2012

No Implementation

No further developments observed.

2013

Minimum Implementation

 

The US State Department Human Rights Report suggested human rights abuses in Senegal. Nevertheless, it was reported that the government was committed to providing protection and assistance to IDPs, refugees, and stateless persons in cooperation with the Office of UN High Commissioner for Refugees. The Sall government also put forth efforts to investigate human rights abuses committed by former Wade administration officials. The freedom of movement was restricted due to MFDC use of mines and banditry.7

In April, the MFDC leader Salif Sadio had asked for the lifting of his arrest warrant as a condition for the dialogue.  As the disclosure made by the Catholic Community of Sant'Egidio – a mediator between the rebel group and the Senegalese government – no international arrest warrant was issued against the MFDC leader Salif Sadio.8

  • 7. "Country Reports on Human Rights Practice for 2013 – Senegal," Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, 2013.
  • 8. “Mediators say ex-Senegalese rebel chief has no arrest warrant against him,” BBC Monitoring Africa, April 14, 2013.
2014

Minimum Implementation

While efforts to improve human rights situations were intact with the election of Sall as president, the freedom of movement was restricted due to MFDC use of mines and banditry. 9

  • 9. "Country Reports on Human Rights Practice for 2014 – Senegal,' Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, 2014.