Amnesty International

Amnesty International (AI) has called on the government of Senegal to prohibit the excessive use of force by security and defence forces in the country.

Protests, held on 17 June in the country, caused clashes resulting in the death of three people and more than 200 people were arrested.

The protests were held to denounce the constitutional council’s decision to reject the national opposition’s list for the upcoming legislative elections.

According to Amnesty, Senegalese security forces used excessive force to disperse the protesters.

‘We are calling on the judicial authorities to launch an investigation into the incidents of 17 June without delay, and to conduct it independently and impartially’, AI’s Executive Director for Senegal, Seydi Gassama, said in a statement.

‘If there is evidence of unlawful violence and killings by members of the security forces, those individuals must be brought to justice and tried.

‘The Senegalese authorities must guarantee the right to peaceful assembly, as enshrined in the Senegalese constitution and in international law and, in particular, repeal the ministerial order No. 7580 of 20 July, 2011, prohibiting “political demonstrations” in central Dakar, in accordance with the ruling of the ECOWAS Court of Justice on 31 March, 2022.

‘Amnesty International notes that the use of force by the security forces during demonstrations must be necessary and proportional to the legitimate aim of maintaining law and order, and that the use of firearms is unlawful except in cases of imminent threat of death or serious injury to self or others’.

Meanwhile, Senegalese authorities have banned anti-government demonstration, risking further anger from the opposition in a climate of growing pre-election tensions.

Campaign is due to open on 10 July for the legislative elections on 31 July.

Freedom House rated the West African country as ‘partly free’ in its 2022 Freedom in the World report on political rights and civil liberties, with Senegal earning 68 points out of a possible 100.

Photo source: John Wessels/AFP/Getty Images

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