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Senegal: Plan to Host Rule of Law Center

(June 23, 2015) On June 5, 2015, it was announced that a regional legal training center will be established in Dakar, Senegal. The announcement was part of a conference organized by the Senegalese government, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and the country of Qatar, which plans to fund the new center. The center will be expected to increase cooperation in West Africa and the Maghreb region in strengthening justice systems and fighting corruption. (Press Release, U.N. Development Programme, Senegal to Host New Rule of Law Center for Africa (June 5, 2015).)

Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, the Director of the Africa bureau of the UNDP, emphasized the importance of countering corruption for the future of the region, stating “[c]orruption is effectively a hold-up on development financing. It undermines the foundations of the rule of law, fuels organized crime, terrorism and conflict, and compromises peace and security.” (Id.)

The center will provide training in creating effective anti-corruption policies while creating justice systems that are effective, fair, and transparent. The training will be available for lawmakers, government officials, and other legal experts. (Id.)

According to Sidiki Kaba, Senegal’s Minister of Justice, it is important for countries in the region to “create the space for extensive consultations with civil society and pursue regional and global partnerships to develop and promote joint initiatives to strengthen the rule of law.” (Id.)

A recent UNDP report noted that while many African states have signed conventions related to the rule of law, implementation is often hampered by nepotism, conflict, and transnational crime. The report advocated the strengthening of the rule of law, calling it essential to peace, civil liberty, and sustainable development. (Id.) The UNDP website states, “[s]trengthening the rule of law and promoting human rights are cornerstones of UNDP’s work to achieve sustainable human development and eradicate extreme poverty.” (Rule of Law, Justice and Security, UNDP website (last visited June 19, 2015); see also United Nations Development Programme in Africa website (last visited June 19, 2105).)