The Committee On Enforced Disappearances Considers Initial Report Of Senegal
GENEVA, Switzerland, March 8, 2017/APO/ —
The Committee on Enforced Disappearances today concluded its consideration of the initial report of Senegal on its implementation of the provisions of the International Convention on the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance.
Coly Seck, Permanent Representative of Senegal to the United Nations Office at Geneva, explained that Senegal had ratified the Convention on the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance in 2008. It was the third African country after Tunisia and Burkina Faso to do so. Although the specific crime of enforced disappearance, including as a crime against humanity, was not codified in the laws of Senegal, the country was going through a profound reform of its Criminal Code and criminal proceedings that would include a specific chapter dedicated to enforced disappearances. Furthermore, since the election of President Macky Sall in 2012, laws had been passed, and institutions dedicated to the protection of human rights had been created to provide a legal basis and efficient safeguards for dealing with the issue for enforced disappearances.
In the interactive dialogue which followed, Committee Experts inquired about the applicability of the Convention in Senegal since the specific crime of enforced disappearances was not codified in domestic laws. Experts were concerned about past measures of amnesty that had provided pardon to perpetrators of crimes during the conflict in Casamance. They feared that those measures would hinder the initiation of investigations and proceedings, the punishment of those responsible and the provision of reparation to the victims of enforced disappearances. Questions were also asked about definitions of victims, adoption preceded by enforced disappearance and conditions in detention facilities.
In his concluding remarks Emmanuel Décaux, Committee Rapporteur for Senegal, said that the ratification of the Convention by Senegal was very important because it was a testimony of the will of the country to put its legislation in line international legal instruments. He highlighted that Senegal benefited from a vibrant civil society and invited the authorities of the country to collaborate closely with of all of its organizations.
Suela Janina, Committee Co-Rapporteur, in her concluding remarks, said that she hoped that those exchanges had been a good opportunity to ensure a better understanding of the Convention. She hoped the reforms of the Criminal Code and criminal proceedings would reflect on the recommendations provided by the Committee.
Mr. Seck hanked the Committee for the fruitful dialogue and said that it would lead to an introspective process into the ways to improve the application of the Convention in Senegal. He said that his country remained very committed to protecting and promoting human rights and wished to stand as an example for other countries.
The delegation of Senegal included representatives of the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Interior and Public Security, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Permanent Mission of Senegal to the United Nations Office at Geneva.