ON THE ELIMINATION
OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES
UNDER ARTICLE 9 OF THE CONVENTION
of the Committee on the
Elimination of Racial Discrimination
332. The ninth and tenth
periodic reports of Senegal, combined in a single document (CERD/C/209/Add.7),
were considered by the Committee at its 1046th and 1047th meetings,
on 3 and 4 August 1994 (see CERD/C/SR.1046 and 1047).
333. The reports were
introduced by the representative of the State party, who referred
to his country's commitment to democracy and respect for human rights.
He pointed out that Senegal was a party to over 20 international
instruments relating to human rights and humanitarian law and that
it regularly submitted to the monitoring bodies the periodic reports
required of it under nine of those instruments.
On the particular question of discrimination, Senegal was a
party to the Convention
on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women,
ILO Convention No. 111 and the UNESCO Convention against Discrimination
in Education, in addition to the International Convention on
Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. The Senegalese
authorities had formulated a veritable policy of national integration
and prevention and prohibition of all forms of discrimination.
article 3 (1) of the Constitution stated, inter alia, that no
political party or association was allowed to identify itself
with a particular
race, ethnic group, sect, language or religion. That policy had
also taken concrete form in the formulation of a cultural charter
and a social order designed to cultivate fraternity, solidarity and understanding, in the founding of the Université des Mutants
and a human rights and peace institute, and in the establishment
of a national system for the promotion of the national languages.
Senegal had made an effort to incorporate within its domestic
the essential content of the international conventions to which
it was a party and accordingly guaranteed all the rights protected
by those conventions. He emphasized the genuine political will
the Senegalese authorities to eliminate any form of discrimination
once and for all and stated that in Senegal tolerance and respect
for diversity had always been regarded as essential factors
and mutual enrichment.
335. Members of the
Committee welcomed Senegal's obvious commitment to human rights
and the important role Senegal played at the international level,
including the Organization of African Unity and the Organization
of the Islamic Conference. They congratulated Senegal on the regularity
with which it submitted reports under the Convention and on having
made the declaration provided for in article 14 of the Convention.
They noted that the report submitted was very complete, had been
drafted in accordance with the guidelines prepared by the Committee,
contained important information and demonstrated that, essentially,
Senegal respected its obligations under the Convention.
336. At the same time,
however, they said that the report was silent on several important
points: it contained almost no information on the effective implementation
of national legislation on discrimination; it contained only very
general and abstract information on the implementation of articles
5, 6 and 7 of the Convention; it did not contain any information
on judicial practice; and, in particular, it made no mention of
cases where the provisions of the Convention had been invoked in
court, where associations had been banned, or where perpetrators
of acts of racial discrimination had been prosecuted and punished.
337. The members of
the Committee, after observing that inter-ethnic problems were among
the most serious and constant causes of massive violations of human
rights, discrimination and, in some cases, political oppression
in Africa, expressed a desire to know what Senegal was doing to
prevent the deterioration of certain inter-ethnic tensions on its
territory in general and what, in particular, it was doing in response
to the tension which had manifested itself for some years in the
Casamance region. The Committee would welcome details on the situation
in that region and on the measures that the Government was considering
taking in order to respond to it and to prevent a similar situation
from arising elsewhere.
338. Members of the
Committee wished to know how the Senegalese Human Rights Committee
was organized, how its members were appointed, what its functions
were and what role it played in the protection of the rights set
forth in the Convention.
339. In connection with
article 1 of the Convention, members of the Committee asked why
there was no definition of racial discrimination either in the Senegalese
Constitution or in the relevant ordinary legislation. They considered
that it was essential, in order to be able to condemn racial discrimination,
to define it, preferably in the light of article 1 of the Convention.
340. With regard to
the implementation of article 4 of the Convention, members noted
that Senegal had very comprehensive legislation in that area, consistent
with article 4, but observed that the provisions of article 3 (1)
of the Constitution forbidding any political party or any association
to identify itself with a particular race, ethnic group, sect, language
or religion did not actually constitute implementation of article
4 of the Convention. They also stated that the report did not deal
with the practical implementation of that legislation, in other
words, the specific policies and programmes giving practical effect
to the relevant legislation.
341. In connection with
article 5 of the Convention, members of the Committee noted that
the reports contained no precise information, above all with regard
to effective protection, in the context of the Convention, of economic,
social and cultural rights, and particularly the right to employment,
the right to housing, the right to social services and the right
342. Members asked for
further information on the Radio and Television Supervisory Council
which managed the use of broadcasting time in electoral campaigns,
and particularly whether the Council included representatives of
the various ethnic groups and to what extent.
343. As to the right
to judicial protection against discrimination (art. 6 of the Convention),
members said that it was not enough to proclaim in national law
that access to the courts was a basic right; how much were persons
potentially exposed to racial discrimination aware of that right
and of how to avail themselves of it? They requested that information
on that matter, together with the practice followed in implementing
the rights enunciated in articles 4, 5 and 7, be included in Senegal's
The representative of the State party, replying to the question
on the implementation
of the provisions of the Convention, said that Senegal had incorporated
various international human rights instruments, including the
and specifically article 1 containing the definition of racial
discrimination, in its national law. Accordingly, the Convention
could, under Senegalese
law, be applied by a Senegalese court. He stated that the definition
of racial discrimination, as contained in the Convention, was
out in Senegalese law as a result of ratification of the Convention.
He pointed out that, for 23 years, he had held the post of
of a court of criminal jurisdiction and, during that period,
no case of discriminatory practice had been brought before
In addition, Senegalese citizens learned through the radio, television
and press of the content of anti-discrimination legislation and
complainants could refer cases to the courts without incurring
345. As to population
statistics, the representative explained that censuses were conducted
not horizontally but vertically; in other words, they were prepared
not on the basis of regions but on the basis of ethnic groups, which
were often nomadic, and moved with their herds from one region to
another. For that reason, the statistics contained in the latest
report were slightly different from those in the previous report.
346. With reference
to the precarious situation in Casamance, the representative said
that the Casamance problem was not of an ethnic nature. He explained
that, in Casamance, separatist movements had wanted to secede, something
that Senegal, like any other country, clearly could not accept.
To settle the problem, the Government had created a reconciliation
commission, consisting essentially of inhabitants of Casamance,
to work for peace and understanding among all Senegalese. Its activity
had been crowned with success, there had been a cease-fire and an
agreement had been reached and was being respected. The Commission
was none the less pursuing its task, namely, to restore confidence
and unity, so that no region would be marginalized.
347. As to the question
of article 4 of the Constitution, prohibiting any regionalist propaganda
prejudicial to the internal security of the State, the representative
of the State party said that, since independence, Senegal had been
concerned above all to consolidate the country and to strengthen
the foundations of the Senegalese nation. Article 4 stemmed directly
from the concept that all Senegalese should consider themselves
first and foremost as Senegalese nationals, regardless of whether
they belonged to a particular region. Similarly, Senegal had prohibited
political parties created for ethnic, linguistic or religious reasons.
That policy in no way impeded the establishment of political parties,
which now numbered 17 in Senegal.
348. The representative
provided the information requested on the organization and functioning
of the Senegalese Human Rights Committee, explaining that, in future,
the Committee was to play an increasing role, particularly with
the Government. He added that the Ombudsman of the Republic had
made major contributions in that connection.
349. The representative
of the State party also responded to other questions raised and
comments made by the members of the Committee during the consideration
of the ninth and tenth periodic reports of Senegal.
350. At its 1065th meeting,
on 17 August 1994, the Committee adopted the following concluding
351. Appreciation is
expressed for the detailed report submitted by the State party and
the comprehensive additional information provided by the delegation
in response to the questions and comments of the members of the
Committee. It is noted that the report has been prepared in accordance
with the Committee's guidelines for the preparation of reports and
that the State party has been complying with its reporting obligations
under article 9 of the Convention.
(b) Positive aspects
352. It is noted with
satisfaction that Senegal has been actively supporting international
human rights activities at both the international and regional levels
and that it is a party to numerous international human rights instruments,
including all the major United Nations instruments under which supervisory
mechanisms have been established.
353. In that connection,
it is appreciated that all human rights instruments ratified or
acceded to by Senegal, including the Convention on the Elimination
of all Forms of Racial Discrimination, have been incorporated in
Senegalese law by virtue of article 79 of the Constitution and have
been given precedence over national legislation.
354. Note is taken of
the fact that Senegal has made a declaration under article 14 of
the Convention recognizing the competence of the Committee to receive
and consider communications from individuals or groups of individuals
within its jurisdiction claiming to be victims of a violation of
any of their rights set forth in the Convention.
355. It is also noted
that significant progress has been achieved over the years in the
legislative field to give effect to the provisions of article 4
of the Convention prohibiting racist activities and propaganda.
(c) Principal subjects
356. Concern is expressed
over the lack of adequate information in the report on the measures
taken by the State party to implement provisions contained in articles
5, 6 and 7 of the Convention.
357. Serious concern
is expressed over the conflict in the Casamance region, where, despite
the signing of agreements between the Government of Senegal and
secessionists, violence has reoccurred, taking the form of an ethnic
(d) Suggestions and
358. The Committee recommends
that the State party, in its next periodic report provide information
on the measures taken at the national level to implement provisions
contained in articles 5 (especially with respect to economic, social
and cultural rights), 6 and 7 of the Convention.
359. The State party
should also provide the Committee with fuller information on jurisprudence
relating to the rights set forth in the Convention.
360. The Committee recommends
that the Government of Senegal intensify efforts aimed at finding
a durable and peaceful solution to the problems in the Casamance
region, with a view to avoiding any further violence and normalizing
361. The Committee draws
the attention of the State party to the amendment to article 8,
paragraph 6, of the Convention, which was approved by the fifteenth
meeting of States parties and by the General Assembly in its resolution
47/111, and encourages the State party to expedite its action formally
to accept that amendment.