General overview of Senegal's national legal provisions on children's rights, including guidance on how to conduct further research.
National laws on children's rights
Status of the CRC in national law
Under Article 98 of the Constitution of Senegal, duly ratified treaties, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child, have superior authority to ordinary laws. The Convention can and has been applied in domestic courts.
Constitution: The preamble to the Senegalese Constitution affirms the State's adherence to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and alongside the rights provisions of Title II that apply regardless of age, there are a small number that specifically address the rights of children:
- Art. 20: recognises a natural right and duty of parents to raise their children and requires the State to support parents in this regard. The article also requires the State to protect “youth ... against exploitation, drugs, narcotics, moral neglect and delinquency”
- Art. 21: requires the State to create preliminary conditions and public institutions which will guarantee the education of children
- Art. 22: establishes a duty of the State to educate and train youth through public schools and establishes a right for children to attend schools regardless of sex
Legislation: There is no comprehensive Children's Act in Senegalese law, though a draft Children's Code is currently in development. National law contains a number of Codes and laws of particular relevance to children including, but by no means limited to:
- The Criminal Code
- The Code of Criminal Procedure
- The Family Code
- The Labour Code
- Law No. 99-05 of 1999 prohibiting excision, sexual harassment, paedophilia, sexual assault and all forms of sexual mutilation, sexual violence and corruption of minors
- Law no. 2005-02 against human trafficking and for the protection of victims
- Law No. 91/22 of 16 February 1991, The National Education Guidance Act
- Decree No. 2001-275 of 10 April 2001 establishing the Inter ministerial Human Rights Commission
- Decree No. 72.11.65 of 20 December 1972 on the organisation of education and the prohibition of corporal punishment in educational establishments
The Senegalese Government maintains a wesbite that publishes legislation (http://www.gouv.sn/spip.php?rubrique3) as well as the Constitution (http://www.gouv.sn/spip.php?rubrique17) in French. The International Labour Organisation's NATLEX database (http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/natlex_browse.country?p_lang=en&p_country=SEN) and the World Law Guide (http://www.lexadin.nl/wlg/legis/nofr/oeur/lxwesen.htm) also provide links to a selection of national legislation in French. The national Constitution is available in English through the website of the Constitution Select Committee of Zimbabwe (http://www.copac.org.zw/downloads/category/6-constitutions-of-the-world.html). In addition, the GlobaLex project at New York University has published a guide to legal research in Senegal (http://www.nyulawglobal.org/Globalex/SENEGAL.htm), and the U.S. Law Library of Congress (http://www.loc.gov/law/help/guide/nations/senegal.php) and the World Legal Information Institute (http://www.worldlii.org/sn/) both provide links to a selection of legal and governmental resources.
Please contact CRIN if you are aware of any national cases which reference the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Case Law Research
Senegalese case law does not appear to be readily available online.
Compliance with the CRC
In its 2006 Concluding Observations, the Committee on the Rights of the Child welcomed a number of reforms to national law, including the prohibition on female genital mutilation and the criminalisation of human trafficking. However; the Committee expressed concern at the “impact of traditional and customary attitudes and practices which hamper the implementation of the Convention” as well as the lack of enforcement of legislation in remote and rural areas. The Committee also urged the State to expedite the process of enacting a Children's Code.
In depth analysis
A number of more specific concerns also emerged from the Committee's 2006 Concluding Observations. The Committee urged the State to address flaws in its justice system to bring it into conformity with the Convention, including by addressing the lack of specialised juvenile justice courts, an independent complaints procedure, or legal aid and services for children in conflict with the law. The Committee also expressed concern at the use of detention as other than a measure of last resort and that children, particularly girls, were detained with adults.
A number of concerns also emerged from those Observations with respect to economic exploitation, including the use of children as labour by Quranic schools and the practice of girls working as domestic servants. The Committee urged the State to address these concerns through the implementation of legislation that has already been enacted and the reinforcement of those laws to provide adequate protection for vulnerable children. The Committee also encouraged the State to adequately train its law enforcement officers and prosecutors to address complaints and prosecute perpetrators of such offences in a child-sensitive manner.
As of 2006, there was also an absence of specific legislation with respect to children with disabilities, prompting the Committee to urge the State to enact “an inclusive and rights-based legal framework, that addresses the specific needs of children with disabilities” and ensure that the legislation that is already in place is properly enforced.
Current legal reform projects
At the time of its 2006 report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, the State had started the process of enacting a Children's Code, though as of June 2012, the Code remained in draft form.
Previous National Laws items
- 30/05/2012: GUINEA-BISSAU: National Laws
- 28/05/2012: BRAZIL: National Laws
- 23/05/2012: CONGO: National Laws
- 18/05/2012: JAMAICA: National Laws
- 09/05/2012: KYRGYZSTAN: National Laws
Organisation Contact Details:
Child Rights International Network
2 Pontypool Place
Tel: +44 (0)207 401 2257
Last updated 12/06/2012 09:57:51