Constitutional Provisions

Article 7 of the 2001 Constitution of Senegal (as amended) provides as follows:

The human person is sacred. It is inviolable. The State has the obligation to respect it and to protect it

Every individual has the right to life, to liberty, to security, to the free development of his personality, to corporeal integrity, notably to protection against all physical mutilations.

Article 8 guarantees the right to freedom of assembly "within the conditions provided for by the law".

The Constitution does not regulate the use of force by law enforcement agencies.

Treaty Adherence

Global Treaties

Adherence to Selected Human Rights Treaties
1966 Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) State Party
ICCPR Optional Protocol 1 State Party
1984 Convention against Torture (CAT) State Party
Competence of CAT Committee to receive individual complaints Yes
CAT Optional Protocol 1 State Party
Adherence to International Criminal Law Treaties
1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court State Party

Regional Treaties

Adherence to Regional Human Rights Treaties
1981 African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights State Party
1998 Protocol to the African Charter on the African Court State Party
Article 34(6) declaration regarding individual petitions Yes
Adherence to International Criminal Law Treaties at Regional Level
Malabo Protocol on Amendments to the African Court of Justice and Human Rights Not party

National Legislation

Police Use of Force

Law enforcement in Senegal is primarily the responsibility of the National Police Force (Sûreté National) and the Gendarmerie

According to the Government of Senegal, it is "prohibited for the security forces, in the performance of their law-enforcement tasks, to use force except when it is necessary and in moderation, in accordance with operational requirements". The legal basis for this is unclear.

Police Oversight

There is no independent police oversight body in Senegal. The Office of the Ombudsman (Médiature de la République du Sénégal) can hear complaints about unlawful police use of force.

Caselaw

Global

Views and Concluding Observations of United Nations Treaty Bodies

In its 2019 Concluding Observations on Senegal, the Committee against Torture noted with concern

consistent reports of the use of excessive and disproportionate force by the security forces, including the use of live ammunition and tear gas, to repress political rallies and demonstrations.

The Committee also noted with concern "that a number of people have died as a result of the disproportionate use of force by agents of the State" and called on Senegal to:

Increase its efforts to systematically provide training to all law enforcement officials on the use of force, especially in the context of controlling demonstrations, taking due account of the Basic Principles on the Use of Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials.

Regional

In 2012, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights adopted Resolution 208 on the Human Rights Situation in Senegal in which it expressed its concern "by the use of force by law enforcement officers who are firing live bullets at peaceful demonstrators resulting in the loss of lives". The Commission stongly condemined

the persistent and serious human rights violations which are tarnishing the electoral campaign, and the use of force against peaceful demonstrators.  

Downloads

2001 Constitution of Senegal (as amended) (English translation)

Loi n° 2009-18 du 9 mars 2009 relative au statut du personnel de la Police nationale

Loi de 1997 sur les manifestations

Committee against Torture Concluding Observations on Senegal (2019)