The following information reports U.S. Government priorities and activities of the U.S. mission in Senegal to promote democracy and human rights. For background on Senegal's human rights conditions, please see the 2009 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
and the International Religious Freedom Reports
Part 1: U.S. Government Democracy Objectives
The United States remains committed to promoting democratic principles, practices, values, and human rights in Senegal. Strengthening democratic institutions and good governance and promoting national reconciliation are essential to Senegal's political and economic development. The United States will play a crucial role in preparing for and monitoring the 2012 presidential elections. Encouraging the government to fight a sustained campaign against corruption and uphold the rights of children are also U.S. priorities.
Supporting Top Priorities and Other Aspects of Human Rights and Democratic Governance
By mid-2010 a new U.S. Government program with the goal of enhancing democracy, good governance, and national reconciliation will be operational. The program will support four distinct and interrelated priority areas: (1) greater transparency and accountability; (2) support to strengthen fiscal decentralization; (3) support to free and credible 2010 elections; and (4) support to conclude the Casamance peace process.
Greater transparency and accountability are essential for improving governance in Senegal. U.S. Government programs include strengthening local governments to operate in a more transparent manner, including an improved system of checks and balances. The program will strengthen the functions of state organizations like the PNBG (National Good Governance Program) and the CNLCC (Commission Against Non-Transparency, Corruption and Embezzlement) to diagnose and propose improvements so that they can audit, publish findings, and initiate sanctions when there are violations. A third feature is to identify and empower officials who are interested in improving systems that encourage transparency and accountability. The fourth element is to build interest and momentum within civil society to advocate for and demand improved transparency and accountability. The U.S. Government will work with the Government of Senegal and other Senegalese partners to implement this program. The United States will point to Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact projects as examples of how government funds can be spent transparently.
Strengthened decentralization is needed to operationalize good governance approaches across the country. Because a U.S. assistance program is already working on decentralization in other sectors (health, education, natural resources management and water), the program will focus on ensuring that resources intended for decentralization make it to local governments and contribute to building their capacity.
The U.S. Government will support the Government of Senegal to strengthen the autonomous electoral body (la CENA) to perform its functions in a credible, independent, and transparent manner, by training its field office personnel, supporting a review and audit of the voter registry, and reviewing its electoral data base and working with la CENA officials to bring it up to date. Another activity will include strengthening civil society's capacity to advocate for a fair, transparent, and credible electoral process. A third intervention will be strengthening political parties. This will include training them to utilize democratic internal procedures, including implementing more independent and transparent candidate selection processes, improving financial transparency and disclosure, developing participatory policy platforms, increasing women's participation in the political process, developing long term strategic plans, and implementing voter-oriented effective campaigns. The U.S. Government will work with U.S. assistance programs that have experience in elections and political process support, and will partner with Senegalese government bodies and civil society groups to implement this activity.
The Casamance Peace Process has been concluded. The ultimate goal of this part of the program was to support and work towards achieving a Casamance peace accord so that the peace process may reach a successful conclusion. The peace process program will build a coalition for peace and will include a sub-grant mechanism to support groups working with community and civil society organizations to engage in dialogue and advocacy directed toward achieving a peaceful solution to the conflict. The process will include training workshops, facilitated dialogues, technical assistance, and efforts to re-build relationships between the belligerent parties. USAID will work with ANRAC (the National Organization for the Reconstruction of the Casamance), civil society organizations, groups within the MDFC (Movement of Democratic Forces in the Casamance) rebel organization, and other community groups to achieve the ultimate goal of a concluded peace agreement.
With U.S. Government encouragement and participation, the cabinet drafted a new press code, which strengthens protection for journalists and attempts to professionalize the media. The draft law is currently under review by the National Assembly.