Last Updated: Thursday, 14 December 2017, 13:52 GMT

Child Soldiers Global Report 2004 - Senegal

Publisher Child Soldiers International
Publication Date 2004
Cite as Child Soldiers International, Child Soldiers Global Report 2004 - Senegal, 2004, available at: [accessed 14 December 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Republic of Senegal

Covers the period from April 2001 to March 2004.

Population: 9.9 million (5.0 million under 18)
Government armed forces: 13,620
Compulsory recruitment age: 20
Voluntary recruitment age: 18
Voting age: 18
Optional Protocol: ratified 3 March 2004
Other treaties ratified (see glossary): CRC, GC AP I and II, ICC, ILO 138, ILO 182; ACRWC

There were no reports of under-18s in government armed forces. No information was available on the use of under-18s by the armed political group, the Mouvement des forces démocratiques de Casamance (MFDC), Democratic Forces of Casamance Movement.


Peace agreements in 2001 ended two decades of conflict between the government and the MFDC, which claimed independence for the Casamance region. The agreements provided for the release of prisoners, the return of refugees from neighbouring countries, clearance of mines, disarmament of MFDC armed groups, and the return of the military to barracks.1 However, sporadic clashes continued in 2003. A Radio France Internationale correspondent was detained and expelled from Senegal in October 2003 following her coverage of an MFDC conference in which she interviewed an MFDC member who opposed dialogue with the government.2 The MFDC leadership at the conference declared that the war was over. However, some MFDC factions boycotted the conference, and attacks, allegedly by MFDC dissidents, continued.3


National recruitment legislation and practice

The 2001 constitution states that the rights and duties of citizens during war, or in the event of an invasion or external aggression, will be the subject of an organic law (Article 70).4

Recruits to the armed forces must be between 18 and 21 years of age. The period of military service is 24 months, after which the recruit may choose to remain in the armed forces or to be placed on the reserve list.5 In its declaration on ratifying the Optional Protocol, the government stated it had raised the minimum age for regular conscription to 20.6 There were no reports of under-18s in the armed forces.

Senegal contributed troops, military observers and police officers to peacekeeping operations under the command of the UN or the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Côte d'Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Kosovo.7

Armed political groups

No information was available on the use of child soldiers by the MFDC. Repeated internal divisions weakened the group. Sporadic fighting and banditry continued in the Casamance region, causing internal displacement of people and periodic flows of refugees. Observers questioned the extent of control exercised by the political leadership over fighters.8 The leader of one MFDC faction that opposed compromise died in August 2003.9

1 Amnesty International Report 2002, http://web.

2 IRIN, "Senegal: RFI journalist faces expulsion as Casamance meeting ends", 8 October 2003,

3 Amnesty International Report 2004. 4 Constitution de la République du Sénégal, adopted by referendum on 7 January 2001. 5 Initial Report of Senegal to UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Doc. CRC/C/3/Add.31, 17 October 1994, 6 (subscription required). 7 UN Peacekeeping, Contributors, 8 IRIN, "Senegal: RFI journalist faces expulsion", op. cit. 9 IRIN, "Hardline leader of Casamance rebellion dies", 26 May 2003.

4 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child,

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