Conflicts & War

UN calls for investigation into use of excessive force in Senegal protests

Geneva, Jun 13 (EFE).- The United Nations Human Rights Office on Tuesday called for a “prompt, independent and thorough” investigation into the excessive use of force by security forces during the recent protests in Senegal that left 16 people dead and 350 injured.

“We are deeply troubled by human rights developments in Senegal in recent weeks,” the Office’s spokesperson Seif Magango said at a press conference in Geneva.

“The use of firearms by security forces during protests sets a negative precedent for Senegal,” the spokesperson said.

Magango insisted the investigations should “bring anyone found to be responsible for unnecessary or disproportionate force to account regardless of their status and political affiliation.”

Senegal security forces also arrested 500 protesters during the three days of demonstrations between June 1-3.

Magango also denounced recent continuing restrictions on freedom of expression and peaceful assembly in the wake of the protests, particularly the suspension of the Walfadjiri TV channel for its live coverage of the protests.

The private station was suspended without legal justification that remained off air to date, he said.

The authorities have also denied permission for new protests, including those planned for last week, he said.

Access to mobile internet services was also restricted between June 1-6 apparently to stop the “dissemination of hateful and subversive messages” the spokesperson said.

“It is the primary responsibility of Senegalese authorities to preserve the country’s long-held respect for democratic traditions and the rule of law,” he added.

Violent protests erupted in most Dakar neighborhoods and Senegal’s main cities after Ousmane Sonko, the popular opposition leader, was handed a two-year sentence on June 1 on charges of “corruption of minors.”

The sentence, if upheld, would prevent him from running in the 2024 presidential elections as the main opponent of the current president, Macky Sall.

Protests were also reported from the Canary Islands where more than 3,000 Senegalese live, most of them employed in local companies that maintain vital commercial ties with Senegal. EFE


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