Annual Report: Senegal 2010

Report
May 28, 2010

Annual Report: Senegal 2010

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Head of state Abdoulaye Wade
Head of government Souleymane Ndéné Ndiaye (replaced Cheikh Hadjibou Soumaré in April)
Death penalty abolitionist for all crimes
Population 12.5 million
Life expectancy 55.4 years
Under-5 mortality (m/f) 125/114 per 1,000
Adult literacy 41.9 per cent

In southern Casamance a resumption of sporadic fighting between people alleged to be members of a separatist movement and the Senegalese army resulted in the displacement of hundreds of people. Torture against detainees was used by the police and condoned by the judiciary. Repression of gay men increased. Independent media and journalists were harassed in an attempt to stifle freedom of expression. The trial of former Chadian President Hissène Habré did not begin.

Background

A resumption of sporadic attacks against military targets by people alleged to belong to the Democratic Forces of Casamance Movement (Mouvement des forces démocratiques de Casamance, MFDC) undermined the fragile status quo in southern Casamance reached after the 2004 peace agreement. In September and October, several soldiers were killed. In response, the Senegalese air force bombed areas thought to include MFDC bases.

In March, an opposition coalition won local elections against a background of protests against rising food prices, shortages of key commodities and power cuts.

Internally displaced people - Casamance

The resumption of intermittent hostilities in Casamance led to the displacement of hundreds of people from their homes in the outskirts of Ziguinchor, the main city in Casamance. Some people fled areas that were bombed by Senegalese military airplanes. Others, notably around Baraf village near Ziguinchor, were forcibly expelled from their homes by alleged members of the MFDC and forbidden from returning to cultivate their fields.

Freedom of expression

Independent media and journalists were targeted in an attempt to stifle freedom of expression and criticism of President Abdoulaye Wade and his government.

  • In March, three community radio stations in Dakar were suspended for two months for commenting on the local elections. The authorities withdrew the suspension after four days on condition that the stations stopped commenting on political issues during election campaigns.
  • In August, three journalists with Le Quotidien newspaper were summoned by police for interrogation for two days after publishing an article criticizing President Wade and government ministers.

Discrimination - lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people

Men faced harassment, arbitrary arrest, torture and unfair trial because of their suspected engagement in consensual same-sex sexual relationships.