It’s Time to Prioritize Women’s Rights in Senegal

Senegal, which has long been admired for its history of political stability, said:exceptionAl “democracy and 61 years Independence Instead, last month’s deadly riots have already further threatened the status of West African nations. Downgrade “Partially free” by Freedom House last year.The law of Senegal a year ago Criminalize rape What was brought in has recently collapsed due to a national protest caused by the accusation of a 20-year-old masseuse who was raped by President Usman Sonko. Female Adji Sarr has been threatened with murder Despised On social media.

The groundbreaking rape method has long won.of May 2019Rape and murder of two young women in Senegal, Bineta Camara and Coumba Yade, with the people International A campaign to address gender-based violence in Senegal and ensure that rape is treated as a serious crime.

The Sarr-Sonko case is a very public test of the enforcement of the new law.Sonko is on his way to court to deal with the rape accusation after Congress’s immunity has been revoked. arrested On March 3, he was charged with disturbing security after a clash between police and demonstrators.

A 46-year-old politician who finished third in the 2019 presidential election selection, A dissident 2024 presidential candidate.His opposition PASTEF (Senegalese labor, ethic, fraternity patriots) is popular among young people who are discouraged by President Macky Sall’s broken campaign promises.Sonko denied allegations of rape Manufacturing As a political ploy by Saul to eliminate opposition.

Sole, who was first elected in 2012, has a term that is supposed to be his final term. Speculation He may seek a third term by changing the Senegalese constitution.Saul previously imprisoned others Political rivalsIncluding opposition leaders Karim WadeThe son of a former president convicted of corruption in 2015, and the former mayor of Dakar Karifa monkey (Not relevant) Embezzlement in 2018.Therefore, protesters regarded Sonko’s arrest as a symbol of government corruption and continued. (Abuse Of the court that crushes the objections.

At least 10 people Died When Senegalese security forces, led by Sonko’s supporters, mainly young men, actively tried to suppress the protests. Sonko was charged with rape and threats of murder, release After police detention on bail under judicial supervision on March 8, street protests subsided, but tensions in Senegal remain high. Searle interviewed the Senegalese media on March 18th. say it She was pregnant with rape.

Women face particular challenges in Senegal Task In multiple aspects.National riots shut down During the first half of March, the country, rape sin gave way to Pointing By a strong male politician.Saar is called liar When woman Supporting her was harassed and silence..Call to #FreeSenegal Women’s rights should not be ignored.

Senegal is in the midst of an economic crisis in addition to the political crisis. The economy was very strong under Sall, which addressed energy shortages and built new infrastructure.The above annual economic growth rate Five%(Before 2020 autumn), Global investment – ​​especially China And that Arab bay – Benefited the Senegalese elite.

However, youth unemployment and poverty are still widespread, and pandemics are widening wealth inequality. In the informal sector, where many women make a living 80 and more “From dusk to dawn” was particularly devastating in the Senegalese economy curfew..

Covid-19 also increased Gender gap World wide, Sexual violence In Africa.Senegalese women have already accused monkeys not taking it Gender parity seriously.

The #me too In Senegal, the movement is struggling to gain momentum as victims of sexual abuse have been stigmatized and women remain. Underestimation In politics.Senegalese women have learned to use sex and obedience as follows: Negotiation tool.. OECDSocial system and gender index Senegal’s “middle” was scored on a scale of gender discrimination. Senegalese girl Faced with high primary school dropout rates, early marriage and motherhood.

Women’s rights must be ranked high in Senegalese protests. Indeed, the growing authoritarianism of Senegalese leaders is also a source of concern. violence Due to government-deployed security forces against almost peaceful young (male) protesters, their arbitrary arrests alarm Among human rights groups.government shut down In a country that has embraced press freedom, the number of social media platforms and private television stations is at stake.The judicial system confusion..

demonstration When strike It has long been effective in curbing the abuse of power and defending Senegal’s democracy. The deprived youth have found a way to hear their voice, but the future of their preferred candidate Sonko is now threatened by rape allegations.This created a problematic position for Senegalese women and forced them to choose between screenings. Support for victims Of sexual abuse or a male-dominated democratic system

These two issues cannot be inconsistent. Women’s voices are essential to the restoration of democracy in Senegal, and women’s rights must be prioritized in national reconciliation. Senegal’s reputation as a democracy in West Africa is at stake.

Mara A. Lightman He is an Associate Professor of Anthropology and Islamic Studies at Michigan State University and a Loose / ACLS Fellow of Religious, Journalism and International Affairs from 2020 to 2021.

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