We, participants in the International Forum on Civic Space organized by Tournons la Page Niger from June 2 to 4 in Niamey, issue the following declaration:
For some time now, we have been observing that Senegal, like certain other African countries, is going through a political crisis characterized by President Macky SALL's manifest desire to run for a third term, flouting Senegal's historic term limits. This crisis was aggravated by the sentencing on June 1, 2023 of opposition leader Ousmane SONKO to two years imprisonment for "corrupting youth". A verdict perceived by many Senegalese as an instrumentalization of justice.
Following this, violent demonstrations broke out across the country, resulting in the deaths of at least 15 people, numerous injuries and the arrest of around 500 demonstrators, including members of civil society, journalists and political opponents.
In view of the above, we, the participants of the International Forum on Civic Space :
- Offer our condolences to the families of the victims and wish a speedy recovery to the injured;
- Call for an independent and transparent investigation to clarify the circumstances surrounding the deaths of 15 people during the demonstrations;
- Deplore the silence of the international community in the face of the abuses perpetrated by the forces of law and order;
- Condemn in the strongest possible terms the excesses of President Macky SALL's regime and the repression of journalists and civil society activists;
- Demand the unconditional release of all political prisoners and opinion leaders;
- Demand respect for fundamental freedoms, in particular the freedoms of demonstration, movement and expression;
- Deplore the reaction of ECOWAS, which places the blame on the Senegalese people, and call on it to intervene to calm the situation and demand strict compliance with term limits;
- Call on President Macky SALL to put the interests of the Senegalese people first;
- Call on all Senegalese people to preserve human life, public and private property and national cohesion.
We are all Senegalese.