United Nations welcomes progress and calls for increased mobilization for the protection of children in Senegal

Concluding her visit to Senegal, Dr. Najat Maalla M'jid, Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations on violence against children called for greater mobilization protecting children from violence in Senegal.

DAKAR, Senegal, March 7, 2023 – On a week-long visit to Senegal, between February 23 and March 1, Dr. Najat Maalla M'jid met with national authorities, at the highest level, as well as with local authorities, including representatives of the Departmental Child Protection Committee (CDPE) of Guédiawaye and Saint Louis, the Senegalese Human Rights Committee, the United Nations country team, development partners, civil society, religious leaders, children and young people. The Special Representative also engaged with children deprived of liberty during a field trip to the Hann juvenile detention center.

In her visit, Dr. Maalla M’jid commended the progress made by the country in the field of children’s rights, particularly the reforms currently being promoted by the Government to grant each child a protective environment conducive to her/his development.

The Senegalese Government informed the SRSG that the Emerging Senegal Plan is aligned with the development objectives included in Agenda 2030 and Agenda 2063: The Africa we want! 

"We hope that child protection can be further strengthened as part of the current development of the new Priority Action Program of the Government. The institutional anchoring of child protection at the national level, presents a golden opportunity for the new prime minister to make child protection a priority and a cross-cutting issue for the Government.” said Dr. Maalla M’jid.

"The proportion of the state budget devoted to child protection, currently 0.05%, could and should be increased in line with the commitments made under the ECOWAS Policy for Children (2019- 2030), which proposes a target of 3%. Ending violence against children offers the potential to generate significant social and economic dividends. It can remove a major barrier that prevents children from reaching their full developmental potential and could reduce costs for societies. It is crucial to increase public resources for child protection," added the Special Representative.

Dr. Maalla M’jid also underlined the importance of granting access to the entire chain of services for the most vulnerable children, with particular emphasis on access to justice for children, a challenge which requires a commitment of all sectors.
"The Government's resolution to modernize and integrate the “daaras” into the formal education system, with quality standards, represents a gateway for the protection of children in Senegal. In this process, the role of Koranic teachers and communities as stakeholders is crucial," highlighted the Special Representative.

The visit of  Dr. Maalla M’jid contributed to taking stock of the situation of children and their protection from violence and abuse in Senegal. It also reenergized and enhanced political support, from various actors, to maintain the momentum around a common objective: to raise awareness about the harmful effects of violence on children, to promote social and behavioural change, as well as to call for real progress in this field.