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UN urges security forces in Senegal to respect and ensure human rights

Demonstrators in Dakar   -  
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Stefan Kleinowitz/Copyright 2020 The AP. All rights reserved.


As protests continue in Senegal against President Macky Sall’s decision to delay the country’s elections to December, there is increasing concern over the behaviour of security forces.

There were deadly clashes between demonstrators and police last week, after Sall said that the 25 February polls were being moved to the end of the year.

His announcement plunged Senegal into a crisis and has intensified a backlash against what many see as an attempt by the president to extend his mandate.

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and other human rights organisations have called on the authorities to ensure that they uphold the country’s long-held tradition of democracy and respect for human rights.

“It is crucial that the authorities unequivocally order the security forces to respect and ensure human rights, including the rights to freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly,” said OHCHR spokesperson, Liz Throssell.

“At least three young men were killed during protests and at least 266 people have reportedly been arrested across the country, including journalists,” she said.

Amid the rising tension and reports of planned further protests, the UN body also urged all actors from resorting to violence.

“The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk calls on the government to ensure that the proposed national dialogue be as broad-based as possible and ensure genuine participation of opposition groups, women, youth and marginalised groups,” she said.

Senegal has been seen as one of the more stable democracies in the West Africa region which has witnessed a string of military coups in recent years.

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