SENEGAL – Laws on abortion and other girls’ and women’s rights to be amended

Laws related to abortion and other rights of girls and women are soon be amended in Senegal. On 26 July, during a dinner discussion organised by the Association de Juristes de Senegal (AJS), the government director of human rights, Moussa Ka, explained that the State had made a commitment to establish a technical committee to review the legislative and regulatory provisions that discriminate against women with the aim of modifying them. This, he said, included prohibition of FGM, child marriage and sexual harassment. It would also authorise safe abortion for girls, in cases of rape and incest under the Children’s Code. He invited civil society organisations to strengthen the synergy of actions in order to advocate for the adoption of current reform projects.

The Deputy Director of Criminal Affairs and the Justice Ministry pointed out, however, that the Department of Justice is aware there is still some way to go, although the preparation of many texts is completed. The tough questions asked by society, he said, justifies a continuation of debate. He called for the dialogue and consultation to be maintained.

Speaking at a capacity-building workshop for journalists specialising in health in 14 regions of Senegal on abortion, Ami Sakho, communications officer for AJS, argued that there is a need to review the national legislation against access to safe abortion for women and girls in case of rape, incest and harm to the health of the woman or fetus. “This, to put an end to illegal abortion, abandonment of newborns, infanticide, the ordeal of women and girls with unwanted pregnancies, and to get out of the destructive triangle of prison, graveyard or lifetime disability.”

SOURCES: Senego, by Cheikh Tidiane Kandé, 30 July 2019 ; Le Quotidien, 8 August 2019 ; Xibaaru, 2 September 2019 ; VISUAL: AJS logo

VIDEO: BBC Africa interview en francais avec Ami Sakho, AJS, 3 September 2019