The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Commission) is closely monitoring the prevailing human rights situation in the Republic of Senegal;
The African Commission is deeply concerned by the deteriorating human rights situation and the atmosphere of insecurity characterized by growing violence in the run-up to the presidential elections;
The African Commission is moreover concerned at the serious and repeated threats against the peace of civilians, arbitrary arrests and acts of intimidation against the population in general and the leaders of the Opposition in particular;
The African Commission is also concerned by the serious threats to the right to peaceful demonstration, to the freedom of opinion, of expression and of assembly, in conformity with the Constitution of Senegal;
The African Commission is further concerned by the use of force by law enforcement Officers, in particular by the firing of live bullets on peaceful demonstrators thereby giving rise to loss of human lives;
The African Commission strongly condemns the acts of intolerance and the persistent and serious human rights violations which are tarnishing this electoral campaign period and which have the potential to reverse democracy in Senegal;
The African Commission urges the Government of Senegal and the Opposition, more particularly the political leaders, the presidential candidates and the other stakeholders to put an immediate end to the violence and to initiate dialogue with a view to resolving their differences;
The African Commission further urges the Government of Senegal to respect and guarantee the freedom of opinion, of expression, of assembly and the freedom of peaceful demonstration, as well as the civil and political rights of all the citizens during this electoral period in conformity with the Constitution of Senegal;
The African Commission moreover urges the Government of Senegal to guarantee the security of all citizens in general and that of the Opposition
Leaders in particular, and to take the necessary measures for guaranteeing peaceful, free and transparent elections, this pursuant to the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance;
The African Commission urges the Government of Senegal to take all necessary measures for the immediate and unconditional release of arbitrarily arrested demonstrators, to put an end to impunity and ensure that all the perpetrators of acts of violence are brought to justice;
The African Commission finally calls on the African Union and the international community at large to lend their support to the peaceful outcome of the current electoral process in Senegal.
Done in Banjul, The Gambia, 22 February 2012.
Press release on the human rights situation in Senegal
Date: 22 February 2012