Skip to Content

UN raises alarm over escalating tensions in Senegal after election delay

By Sharon Braithwaite and Nimi Princewill, CNN

(CNN) — The United Nations is “deeply concerned” about the tense situation in Senegal, following the suspension of the country’s presidential election that was slated for February 25, Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Liz Throssell said Tuesday.

Mobile internet access was cut off for the second time this month on Tuesday after three people died in violent protests that broke out in the capital Dakar and other cities last weekend.

The Senegalese communications ministry said the blackout was due to the spread of “hateful and subversive messages which have caused violent demonstrations with deaths and significant material damage.”

Earlier this month, President Macky Sall announced the election would not be held as scheduled, and days later on February 5, Senegal’s parliament voted to formally delay it.

Sall, whose second and final term runs out in April, attributed the suspension to disputes over a final list of presidential candidates that excluded dozens of opposition aspirants.

Speaking at a press briefing in Geneva, Throssell called on Senegal’s authorities to uphold the country’s long-held tradition of democracy and respect for human rights, citing “reports of unnecessary and disproportionate use of force against protesters and restrictions on civic space.”

“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.

Urging investigations into the deaths and due process for those arrested, Throssell said it was “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.”

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk was also calling 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 marginalized groups,” she added.

On Tuesday, the French Foreign Ministry said that Senegal must hold a new presidential election “as soon as possible” and refrain from disproportionate force when dealing with protests.

“France offers its condolences to the relatives of those who died during the demonstrations in Senegal in recent days. It calls for the proportionate use of force,” the ministry said in a press release.

The US also previously said it was “deeply concerned” by the moves to delay the election and urged the government to move forward with the ballot.

A West African delegation from regional bloc ECOWAS arrived in Senegal on Monday to mediate on the escalating political crisis, ahead of fresh protests planned for this week, Senegalese state media RTS reported.

Also on Monday, former Senegalese presidents Abdou Diouf and Abdoulaye Wade jointly called for “an immediate end to the violence and destruction of property” in the country while urging Sall to organize a national dialogue which they hoped could “lead to broad national reconciliation.”

™ & © 2024 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

Article Topic Follows: CNN - World

Jump to comments ↓

CNN Newsource


KTVZ NewsChannel 21 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content