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Optional protocolon the involvement of children in armed conflict, on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography
Corporal punishmentCorporal Punishment is legal in the home, alternative care settings, day care, schools and possibly penal institutions.
Overview of the child rights situation

Senegal's report reveals major problems in implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Almost half of the country's children live in income-poor families, education is not free and public institutions depend heavily on international aid organizations.

Female genital mutilation and reproductive rights

The Committee is concerned about the increasing number of girls, particularly from other West African countries, who are subjected to domestic servitude and commercial sexual exploitation, including for sex tourism.
The Committee welcomes criminalization of female genital mutilation. The Committee is concerned, however, about the slow progress in the abandonment of this practice, which remains highly prevalent in certain regions. It is also concerned about the high rate of child and forced marriage, particularly in rural areas. To improve the situation, the Committee recommends to establish protective mechanisms and services to safeguard children, especially girls, at risk of being subjected to female genital mutilation, and ensure that all victims of this practice have access to social, medical, psychological and rehabilitative services and legal redress.

Situation of children with disabilities

The Committee urges the State party to set up comprehensive measures to develop inclusive education, including by training and assigning specialized teachers and professionals, and creating school environments appropriate for children with disabilities. The State party should also investigate and prosecute perpetrators of acts of inhumane and degrading treatment against children with disabilities. Furthermore, the Committee recommends that the State party develop and implement awareness-raising programmes, including campaigns, aimed at government officials, the public and families, to combat the stigmatization against children with disabilities and promote a positive image of such children. Further, health-care and social and rehabilitation services for children with disabilities need to be improved by ensuring the necessary human, technical and financial resources and adequate infrastructure.

Situation of asylum-seeking, refugee and migrant childrenThe Committee is concerned at the lack of capacity and resources to handle the flow of mainly Mauritanian refugees and especially to provide them with food and basic services. It is also concerned at the lack of disaggregated statistical information on the situation of child refugees, and on the results of the campaign by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in partnership with the Government of Senegal to register Mauritanian refugees and issue them with biometric identity cards.The Committee urges the State party to adopt a comprehensive legal framework for refugees and asylum seekers in line with international standards and to develop an efficient cooperation mechanism with UNHCR to identify and provide assistance to children in need of protection, especially unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, and to facilitate their integration into Senegalese society including their access to education and to health and social services.
Free kindergartenNo
Free primary and secondary schoolNo
physical health

The Committee welcomes the decline in the under-five mortality rate and the expanded coverage of immunization programmes, as well as the relative decline in maternal mortality and the establishment of universal health care.
However, the Committee remains concerned about the insufficient overall funding allocated to the health-care sector and the insufficient number of qualified and experienced health-care providers and their inequitable distribution across the country, causing regional disparities in health services provision. It is also concerned about the high numbers of malnourished and severely stunted children, particularly in rural areas.

Concerning drug and substance abuse, the Committee recommends that the State party take all necessary measures to address the incidence of drug use by children and adolescents by, inter alia, providing children and adolescents with accurate and objective information as well as life skills education on preventing drug and substance abuse. Furthermore, the Committee recommends that the State party develop accessible and youth-friendly drug dependence treatment and harm reduction services.

Relation to other countries
mental health

There are inadequate mental health services for adolescents. Therefore, the Committee recommends to strengthen adolescent-sensitive mental health counselling services and make them known and accessible to adolescents.

Business sector

The Committee is concerned about the lack of measures taken to protect children from violations of their rights arising from tourism activities. It is also concerned that private investment, particularly in the mining and fishing industries, does not necessarily benefit local communities and may bring harmful consequences for families and children, such as the use of child labour and exposure to harmful substances. The Committee also notes the lack of information on any regulatory framework to address the social and environmental responsibility of business corporations and industries, both national and international, that could prevent possible negative impacts from their activities on children.

The Committee recommends that the State party undertake awareness-raising campaigns with the tourism industry and the public at large on the prevention of child sex tourism and widely disseminate the World Tourism Organization global code of ethics for tourism among travel agents and in the tourism industry. Also, the State party should also establish clear regulations and a nationwide legislative framework, including through the adoption of agreements between private enterprises and the State party at the local level, requiring companies operating in the State party to adopt measures to prevent and mitigate the adverse impact on child rights of their operations in the country.

Situation of juvenile justice

The Committee notes the establishment of 14 juvenile courts throughout the country, as well as the efforts to revise the Penal Code and the Penal Procedure Code which will provide the opportunity for children aged 13 to 18 who are in conflict with the law to receive assistance and protection and to benefit from defined alternative measures to detention. However, the Committee remains concerned that the existing Penal Code lacks specificity on the social and protection measures for children in conflict with the law, as well as on clear mechanisms to support children and the family so that they can benefit from such measures. Further, juvenile courts lack specialized juvenile judges, and the number of adequately trained social educators is limited. The Committee is also concerned that deprivation of liberty is not used as a last resort and children have been detained in adult prisons.
To improve the situation, the Committee urges the State party to, inter alia, ensure the provision of qualified and independent legal aid to children in conflict with the law at an early stage of the procedure and throughout the legal proceedings and to establish specialized juvenile court facilities throughout the country with adequate human, technical and financial resources, and continue to provide training on relevant international standards to those responsible for administrating the juvenile justice system. In cases where detention is unavoidable, Senegal should ensure that the children are not detained together with adults and that the detention conditions are compliant with international standards, including with regard to access to education and to health services. In addition to that, Senegal should ensure that both sentenced and released persons below 18 years of age are provided with educational opportunities, including vocational and life-skills training, and recovery and social reintegration services.

Specific observations

The Committee welcomes the unilateral ceasefire declared by the Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance in April 2014 and the subsequent improvement of the security situation in Casamance. The Committee notes with appreciation the establishment of the National Agency to Revive Economic and Social Activity in Casamance, as well as the measures taken to protect children affected by the armed conflict, including by improving the prevention of accidents caused by landmines and by providing child landmine victims with psychosocial and material assistance. However, the Committee remains concerned that physical, psychological and social needs of children living in the area are not being addressed sufficiently and that landmines from the conflict are still a threat.
The Committee recommends that the State party take all appropriate measures, including through international cooperation, to further address the physical, psychological and social reintegration needs of children affected by the conflict and to pursue its efforts to demine former conflict areas, including by ensuring effective implementation of the humanitarian demining programme and providing adequate human, technical and financial resources to the National Anti-Mine Centre of Senegal.

Additional background

Concluding observations on the third to fifth periodic reports released on 7 March 2016. More information about education in Senegal:

Last Updated (date)28th of February, 2022