Senegal: New Counter-Terrorism Laws Endanger Human Rights
July 6, 2021
Nairobi (Nairobi) –
Human Rights Watch said today that Senegal’s new counterterrorism laws could punish political speech and peaceful protest as “terrorist acts,” target union leaders, and dangerously expand police surveillance powers.
Before laws are enacted, the government and parliament should amend them to ensure that they meet international human rights standards. While the government claims the two new laws are aimed at “strengthening the fight against terrorism, maritime piracy, and transnational organized crime,” civil society organizations and opposition parties argue they are overly broad and could be used to silence dissent.
By a vote of 70 to 11, the national assembly approved the laws amending the Penal Code and Criminal Procedure Code on June 25, 2021.It is unclear how many of the 165 members of the National Assembly were present.
On June 30, opposition party members petitioned Senegal’s Constitutional Council to determine whether the laws are in accordance with the country’s constitution and domestic and international legal obligations.
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