Senegal

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Overview

Located in Western Africa, between Mauritania, Mali, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, and the Atlantic Ocean, and surrounding Gambia. Senegal first became an Islamic nation in the 11th century. The Mandingo Empires ruled Senegal for several centuries, but by the 15th century, several European countries vied for the opportunity to colonize the area, among them England, the Netherlands and Portugal. But it was France that gained control of Senegal by 1677, and exploited it as a departure point in the slave trade. In 1959, Senegal briefly merged with French Soudan to form the Mali Federation, and became independent from France. However, the federation broke apart in August of that same year, leaving Senegal completely independent. President Senghor and Prime Minister Mamadou Dia governed together in a parliamentary system for a time. But when a Dia coup was thwarted in December 1962, Senegal adopted a new constitution that increased the power of President. Senghor, who remained in control until his retirement in 1980. He handed power to Abdou Diouf, who did much to reduce government involvement in the economy and helped to create diplomatic relations with other developing nations. In 2000, Diouf was defeated in elections by Abdoulaye Wade, who was able to sign a peace treaty with two separatist factions of the Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance. The Untied States is encouraging the government of Senegal to work towards a negotiated settlement and dialogue with the separatists of Casamance.  

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Basic Information

Lay of the Land: In westernmost West Africa, Senegal is bordered on the north by Mauritania, on the east by Mali, on the south by Guinea and Guinea-Bissau, and on the west by the Atlantic Ocean. The 250-mile tongue of the Gambia lies just across the southern portion of the country. The dry north anticipates the Sahara Desert. Four parallel rivers, for the most part navigable, traverse the central and southern grasslands.

 
Population: 12.9 million
 
Religions: Muslim (syncretic with traditional beliefs) 94%, Christian 4%, Ethnoreligious 2%.
 
Ethnic Groups: Wolof 43.3%, Pular 23.8%, Serer 14.7%, Jola 3.7%, Mandinka 3%, Soninke 1.1%, European and Lebanese 1%.
 
Languages: Wolof 33.0%, Pulaar 22.0%, Serer-Sine 11.5%, Jola (Kasa and Fonyi) 3.0%, Mandinka 5.6%, Western Maninkakan 3.5%. There are 36 living languages in Senegal.
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History

Senegal was originally settled in prehistoric times, but  Islam came to the region in the 11th century. Today’s Senegal was part of the three empires of Ghana, Songhai, and Mali. Although the dominant religions of Senegal are Islam and Christianity, traditional religions played an important part in people’s lives in the early periods of Senegal’s history.

 
The Mandingo empires ruled the areas to the east and took over the country and formed the Jolof Empire of Senegal. By the 16th century, however, the Jolof Empire had split into four parts: the Jolof, Waalo, Caypr and Baol kingdoms.
 
In 15th Century, Africa became a destination for European explorers, and the Portuguese were the first to establish trading posts along the coast of Senegal. At first the trade was dominated by gold, ivory, and pepper, but soon the expansion of plantations in the Americas led to an increased demand for labor. Many West Africans were captured and shipped across the Atlantic. In the meantime, other European powers, particularly i the Dutch and the English, joined in the competition to control and exploit Senegal, as well as other parts of Africa.
 
By 1677, France gained control of the country, which had become an important departure point for the slave trade. The French continued to operate along Senegal’s coast until the 1850s, when they began to expand their foothold into the central part of the country, wiping out native populations along the way.
 
The Pan-AfricanCongresses, a series of five meetings in 1919, 1921, 1923, 1927, and 1945 addressed issues related to the European colonization of Africa. The congress of 1945, in particular, was a turning point in African history because it was attended by many outstanding African delegates, including Léopold Senghor who later became Senegal’s first president. The Congress demanded an end to colonial rule and racial and economic discrimination and addressed the needs of all black people around the world. The conference emphasized their common experiences of blackness and called upon black people to unite for their liberation. Working for the revival of African cultures and arts, Senghor coined the term negritude by turning the racial slur “negre” into a positively connoted word. Negritude, an ideology that celebrates black culture and heritage, became a guiding principle for the political works of many African leaders who worked to decolonize their countries.
 
In January 1959, Senegal and French Soudan merged to form the Mali Federation. The federation broke up a little more than year later, with Senegal proclaiming its independence (on June 20, 1960), as did French Soudan (later renamed the Republic of Mali). Léopold Sedar Senghor, a poet, politician and statesman, was elected as Senegal’s first president in August 1960.
 
Senghor ruled with Prime Minister Mamadou Dia under a parliamentary system. In December 1962, however, Prime Minister Dia attempted a coup, which was defeated without bloodshed. Dia was arrested and imprisoned, and Senegal adopted a new constitution that consolidated the president’s powers.
 
In 1980, Senghor retired from politics and handed over power to his handpicked successor, Abdou Diouf. Diouf was president from 1981-2000, encouraging greater participation in the country’s politics and reducing the government’s involvement in the economy. He also formed new diplomatic relations, particularly with other developing nations.
 
In February 1982, Senegal joined with Gambia to form the confederation of Senegambia. But the union that had been sought between the two nations was never carried out, and it was dissolved in 1989.
 
Diouf’s term was not unmarred by violence, and border tensions, along with a separatist movement in the southern region of the Casamance, resulted in street fighting. But overall, Senegal has moved towards greater democracy and human rights since that time. After serving four terms as president, Diouf was defeated in 2000 elections by opposition leader Abdoulaye Wade (pronounced "wahd").
 
On December 30, 2004, Wade announced that he would sign a peace treaty with two separatist factions of the Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance (MFDC) in the Casamance region. The treaty has held, for the most part, and refugees have begun to come back from Guinea-Bissau.
 
On April 3, 2010, Senegal unveiled a 164-foot tall “African Renaissance Monument” that was designed by President Wade. The $20 million statue features a man, a woman, and a child who are facing the Atlantic Ocean. The construction of this monument was financed with the help of money gained by selling land to North Korea. The statue was unveiled at the 50th anniversary celebration of Senegal’s independence from France, and it emphasizes the pride of Africa and being black. It is also meant to be a reminder of the journey that their ancestors made to America. Construction of this costly monument was much criticized because the entire region of West Africa is dealing with various financial problems. In addition, in an overwhelmingly Muslim country, many Senegalese objected to the revealing clothing of the woman featured in the statue. Wade and his supporters claim that the monument will attract tourists and the proceeds will be used to benefit Senegal’s children.
 
History of Senegal (Wikipedia)
Timeline of Senegal History (World Statesmen)
Government of Senegal  (Discover Senegal)
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History of U.S. Relations with Senegal

The history of the US-Senegal relationship can be traced back to the Transatlantic trade, in which goods and slaves were shipped out of Africa to Americas and Europe. According to economist Nathan Nunn, in The Long-Term Effects of Africa’s Slave Trades, 278,195 slaves were taken from Senegal and shipped across the Atlantic to the Americas.

 
Diplomatic relations between the United States and Senegal were established on October 8, 1960.
 
President Diouf paid his first official visit to Washington, DC, in August 1983 and traveled to the US several times thereafter.
 
In 1995, Senegal hosted the Second African-African American Summit. First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton began her trip to Africa in March 1997 with a visit to Senegal, and President Bill Clinton visited Senegal in 1998.
 
In June 2001, President Abdoulaye Wade met President George W. Bush at the White House. Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Walter Kansteiner visited Senegal in August 2001. Foreign Minister Tidiane Gadio met Secretary of State Colin Powell in September and November 2001.
 
Senegal took a strong position against terrorism in the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against the US, and in October 2001 hosted a conference establishing the African Pact Against Terrorism According to BBC News , “He[President Wade] suggested that the Organization of African Unity establish a seven-member committee of African heads of state to ensure that no country on the continent offered sanctuary to terrorist groups, much less money or aid. Senegal's population is 95% Muslim, but fundamentalist Islam is not common and relations with the Christian minority are good. He went to Paris from London where he was part of a delegation of six African heads of state which held talks with Prime Minister Tony Blair.”
 
During President Bush’s July 2003 visit to Africa, Senegal was his first stop. According to CNN, “His [President Bush] itinerary includes Senegal, perhaps the continent's most peaceful and prosperous nation; South Africa, an economic powerhouse; Botswana, the fastest-growing developing country in the world; Uganda, where AIDS rates are falling dramatically this decade; and Nigeria, a key U.S. ally in the war on terrorism. The president brings with him pledges of $15 billion over five years to fight AIDS, $200 million in famine relief and $100 million to fight terrorism. The trip, originally set for January but postponed as the nation prepared for war in Iraq, could uniquely appeal to opposite ends of the political spectrum in the United States. Bush hopes to reach out to both blacks, the voting bloc from which polls say he faces his most intractable resistance, and religious conservatives, who solidly back him but have been pushing his administration to invest more in global anti-poverty and hunger programs.”
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Current U.S. Relations with Senegal

Noted Senegalese-Americans

GaboureyGabby” Sidibe; (born May 6, 1983) is known for her performance in the movie Precious. She was born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in Bedford Stuyvesant. Her mother, Alice Tan Ridley, is an African-American R&B (Rhythm and blues)and gospel singer, and her Senegal-born father, Ibnou Sidibe, is a cab driver. Sidibe won the Best Actress Academy Award in 2009, and on February 2, 2010, she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress.
 
Akon (born Aliaune Badara Akon Thiam), is a rapper, singer-songwriter, record producer, and businessman. He was born in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S. His father, Mor Thiam, was a Senegalese percussionist. Akon rose to success with the release of “Locked Up” from his album Trouble, and won the Grammy Award nomination of the single “Smack That.” During his successful music career, he has earned him 6 Grammy Awards nominations, and he has also produced for well known artists such as Lady Gaga, Colby O'Donis and Leona Lewis.
 
Currently, Senegal enjoys good relations with the US. Senegal has backed US efforts at the UN and in peacekeeping missions, and the US provides considerable economic and technical assistance to Senegal.
 
Millicom, a multinational, mostly American-owned cell phone company, requested arbitration before the World Bank's International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes. after President Wade's son, Karim Wade, and another presidential counselor, Thierno Ousmane Sy, demanded a payment of $200 million to allow Millicom to keep its license. Millicom believes it owns the license to provide cell phone service in Senegal for 20 years, and it refuses to pay this payment. Currrently, Millicom continues to operate in Senegal under the "Tigo" brand with its technically revoked license, waiting for the World Bank court ruling, which could take until mid-2011.

In June 2007, First Lady Laura Bush made Senegal her first stop during a four-country Africa tour in support of the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) and the President Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
 
Lt. Gen Abdoulaye Fall, chief of defense staff, Senegalese Armed Forces, was the first African defense chief to visit U.S. Africa Command headquarters on February 11, 2010.

According to the US Army, “Six other senior Senegalese military officials also visited the command headquarters February 8-11, to discuss security cooperation goals and plan future activities with the command and its service components.”
 
The US Agency for International Development (USAID) program in Senegal focuses on promoting economic growth/private sector development by expanding microfinance and business development services and commercializing natural and non-traditional products; improving local delivery of services and sustainable use of resources; increasing use of decentralized health services; and improving middle school education, especially for girls. In addition, there is a conflict resolution and rehabilitation program to improve conditions for peace in Senegal’s two southern regions known as the Casamance.
 
The Peace Corps program in Senegal has approximately 150 volunteers serving in agriculture, forestry, health, and small business development.
 
The US Embassy’s Cultural Affairs Section administers the Fulbright, Humphrey, and International Visitor exchange programs. The Fulbright teacher, researcher, and lecturer programs are two-way exchanges, supporting American grantees in Senegal during their stay. In addition to exchanges, the section organizes numerous programs for the Senegalese public including US speaker programs, fine arts programs, film festivals, and a book club. Finally, the section organizes an annual regional colloquium for American Studies professionals, journalists, and civic leaders from over 15 countries in Africa.
 
Each year, approximately 300 Senegalese students travel to the US to study.
 
In 2005, 21,869 Americans visited Senegal, up from 20,316 in 2004.
 
In 2006, 4,445 Senegalese visited the US, down 7.5% from 2005. Fewer travelers have come every year since 2002, when 7,762 visited the US.
 
Senegal (USAID)
US launches West Africa Cotton Improvement Program (by Forrest Laws, Delta Farm Press)
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Where Does the Money Flow

U.S. imports from Senegal totaled only $6.9 million in 2009. Leading US imports from Senegal included petroleum products ($1.6 million),  fish and shellfish ($977,000); and non-textile apparel and household goods ( $873,000). Additionally, U.S. imported $248,000 worth of feedstuff and food grains.

 
Top American exports to Senegal in 2009 included $53.5 million in fuel oil, which has increased from $0 in 2005. Passenger cars (new and used) increased from $4.7 million in 2005 to $19.5 million in 2009. Chemicals fertilizers grew from $9,000 in 2005 to $8.0 million in 2009; materials handling equipment from $3.0 million in 2005 to $7.6 million in 2009. Excavating machinery increased from $2.0 million in 2005 to $7.3 million in 2009. Apparel, household goods-textile’s export increased from $2.3 million in 2005 to $5.6 million in 2009. Toiletries and cosmetics’ exports increased from $1.45 million in 2005 to $4.5 million in 2009.
 
The US gave $ 93.8 million in aid to Senegal in 2009. The 2009 budget allocated the most funds to development assistance ($55.8 million) and Global Health and Child survival –USAID $32.0 million,  
 
The 2010 budget estimate is $106,338 million, and 2011 estimate is $136,935 million; this amount may be increased by $30,597.
 
The 2009 budget allocated $38.9 million to Health, $33.0 million to agriculture and $14.5 million to education.
 
The majority of health aid helps Senegal’s battle against tuberculosis. Senegal also receives money through the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) independent of the foreign operations budget.
The health aid to Senegal is aimed to decrease maternal mortality, child mortality and prevent infectious disease such as malaria and tuberculosis (TB); it will also fund programs regarding family planning, reproductive health and nutrition.
 
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Controversies
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Human Rights

According to the latest U.S. State Department report, human rights problems exist in the following areas: “inhuman and degrading treatment of detainees and prisoners; overcrowded prisons; questionable investigative detention and long pretrial detention; corruption and impunity; limits on freedoms of speech, press, and assembly; domestic violence, rape, sexual harassment of women, and discrimination against women; female genital mutilation (FGM); child abuse; child marriage; infanticide; trafficking in persons; and child labor.”

 
Although human rights groups have noted examples of physical abuse committed by security forces, they claimed poor training and supervision resulted in “cruel and degrading treatment in prisons and detention facilities. In particular, they criticized strip-search and interrogation methods. Police reportedly forced detainees to sleep on bare floors, directed bright lights at their pupils, beat them with batons, and kept them in cells with minimal access to air.”
 
During 2009, there was one report of two people injured by landmines, which are continuing to be cleared and deactivated. Many landmines, placed during the long-running war between the central government and secessionist rebels in the Casamance region of southern Senegal remain under the soil. These have killed 147, including 23 children.
 
The weakness of Senegal’s judiciary in punishing criminals has resulted in several cases of mob violence. Due to widespread impunity, civilians often administered punishment themselves by beating thieves before handing them over to security forces.
 
Prison Conditions
Prison and detention center conditions are poor due to lack of funding. The prisons in Senegal are from the colonial era, which has resulted in the overcrowded condition of Senegal’s prisons. The current populations of prisoners in Senegal’s jails are double the size that these prisons should hold. According to the Department of State, “There were 37 prisons with a designed maximum capacity of 3,000 prisoners. However, officials noted in July that there were in fact 7,139 prisoners.… Approximately 2,660 persons were being held in prison facilities in pretrial detention. There were 200 children being held with their mothers in prison.” The National Organization for Human Rights (ONDH), which visited prisons and met with prisoners, reported that several inmates complained about inhuman treatment and showed marks resulting from corporal punishment. Also, according to the State Department, “the rape of female prisoners was a serious issue not addressed by government authorities during the year.” The ONDH identified overcrowding and a lack of adequate sanitation as major problems.
 
Prisons lacked doctors and medicine. There was one mattress for every five detainees. Due to an old and overburdened infrastructure, prisons had drainage problems during the rainy season and stifling heat during the summer. Prisons were infested by bugs, and prisoners faced sexual assaults, suffocating heat, and extremely low-quality food.
 
Impunity and corruption were problems. According to human rights groups, attorneys, and alleged victims, security forces regularly and openly extorted money from detainees in exchange for release and from prostitutes to overlook noncompliance with the legalized prostitution regime and other laws. The World Bank’s worldwide governance indicators reflected that corruption was a serious problem.
 
Although the law specifies that warrants issued by judges are required for arrests, in practice police often lacked warrants when detaining individuals.
 
The government used security forces to harass journalists and a member of the Assembly for the Defense of Human Rights (RADDHO). There was at least one report that police arrested and beat a journalist.
 
Judicial backlogs and absenteeism of judges contributed to long pretrial detention periods. The law states that an accused person may not be held in pretrial detention for more than six months for minor crimes. However, persons were routinely held in custody until a court demanded their release.
 
Human rights organizations stated that illegal phone monitoring by security services was common practice.
 
Community radio operators criticized what they viewed as a lack of transparency in the allocation of radio frequencies. Radio stations, often controlled by a single religious, political, or ethnic group continued to be opened during the year. Although their frequencies were legally obtained, these stations often failed to follow labor and other business rules, such as tax requirements.
 
Government failure to enforce regulations on establishing media outlets and government-provided media assistance resulted in an increase of unprofessional or politicized media outlets.
 
Journalists continued to convey concern over government efforts to control media content by selectively granting or withholding state subsidies, which were given to both government-affiliated and private independent media. The government frequently used subsidies or more direct means to pressure the media not to publicize certain issues. Security forces harassed and arrested journalists during the year.
 
Although the constitution and law provide for freedom of assembly, the government interfered with this right in practice. During the year the government repeatedly denied public permits for civil society and opposition demonstrations.
 
Some human rights organizations alleged that their telephones were regularly tapped during the year.
Death threats against leaders of opposition political parties, unions, journalists, and NGOs were common and generally believed to originate in circles close to the ruling party.
 
Gender discrimination was(is or was ?) widespread in practice, and antidiscrimination laws often were not enforced. Domestic violence, rape, sexual harassment, discrimination against women, female genital mutilation (FGM), child abuse, child marriage, and trafficking in persons were problems. Domestic violence, including spousal abuse, was a widespread problem.
 
Sexual harassment is common. The government did not effectively enforce the law, and women’s rights groups claimed sexual harassment victims found it difficult, if not impossible, to present proof sufficient to justify prosecutions. Under national law, women have the right to choose when and whom they marry, but traditional practices restricted a woman’s choice.
 
Women faced pervasive discrimination, especially in rural areas where traditional customs, including polygamy, and rules of inheritance were strongest. According to the law, a woman’s approval is required for a polygamous union, but once in such a union, a woman need not be notified nor give prior consent for the man’s subsequent marriage. Women represented 52% of the population, but were held responsible for 90% of domestic work and 85% of agricultural work. Young girls were trafficked from the rural areas to work in urban areas as underage domestics, and some young girls and boys were forced into prostitution to support their families. Senegal is believed to be a transition point for women to be sent to Europe for commercial sexual exploitation.
 
Exploitation of Children
Child abuse is an ongoing problem . Easily observable are the many poorly dressed, barefoot young boys, known as “talibes,” begging on street corners for food or money for their Quranic teachers, known as marabouts. These children are exploited by their teachers and exposed to dangers. Physical abuse of talibes was widely known and discussed. According to Human Rights Watch, “the marabout typically collects between US$20,000 and $60,000 a year from the boys' begging - a substantial sum in a country where most people live on less than $2 a day. Interviews suggest that some marabouts amass upward of $100,000 a year through exploiting children in their care.”
 
 Even though Senegal’s government criminalized forcing others to beg for personal financial gain, the government has been unable to enforce the law or even charge one marabout so far. At least 50,000 of these boys are forced to beg and many of them are between 4 to 12 years of age; they are forced to live under slave-like conditions. As many as 30 of them have to sleep in one room; many of them suffer from malnutrition and are subjected to physical and sexual abuse. In addition, being forced to beg in the streets may cause them to get hit by cars. Their needs are mostly neglected, and if they need medicine, they have to beg overtime to pay for it.
 
There were periodic reports of child rape and pedophilia. Due to social pressures and fear of embarrassment, incest remained taboo and often went unreported and unpunished. A women’s rights NGO stated that, of all cases of violence committed against girls, paternal incest was rising the fastest.
 
Homosexuality is a criminal offense, and homosexuals faced widespread discrimination and social intolerance. Article 319.3 of Senegal's penal code, indicates that "whoever commits an improper or unnatural act with a person of the same sex will be punished by imprisonment of between one and five years."
 
While there are legal regulations on workplace safety, they often were not enforced. There is no explicit legal protection for workers who file complaints about unsafe working conditions. Workers, including foreign or migrant workers, had the right to remove themselves from situations that endangered health or safety without jeopardy to their employment; however, it was seldom exercised due to high unemployment and a slow legal system.
 
Casamance
Civil war broke out in 1982 between Senegal’s government and the Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance (MFDC), which seeks independence for the Casamance region. Casamance is an area of Senegal between Gambia and Guinea-Bissau which is agriculturally rich, and which used to be a tourist destination before the conflict began.
 
The conflict has displaced 60,000 civilians and disrupted the livelihood of many villages. The contributing factors to the conflict are economic issues, historic conflicts, and lack of respect of the indigenous norms. This conflict has negatively affected the environment (landmines), and forced many schools and health clinics to close or move; overall it has increased poverty in Casamance.
 
According to the State Department, rebels from the Movement of Democratic Forces of the Casamance (MFDC) and a splinter group, the Movement for the Liberation of the People of the Casamance, killed civilians, committed robberies, and harassed local populations while fighting each other. There was an increase in violence against and killings of civilians as a result of fighting between government forces and Atika, a separatist movement led by rebel leader Salif Sadio.
 
Fighting between soldiers and rebels, as well as internal fighting among rival MFDC factions, has resulted in civilian deaths and injuries and the displacement of numerous person. Attacks and highway robberies by suspected rebels also occurred.
 
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Debate
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Past Ambassadors

Henry S. Villard
Appointment: Oct 8, 1960
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 31, 1960
Termination of Mission: Left post Apr 30, 1961
Note: Also accredited to Mauritania; resident at Dakar. Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Feb 6, 1961.

 
Philip M. Kaiser
Appointment: Jun 22, 1961
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 20, 1961
Termination of Mission: Left post May 18, 1964
Note: Also accredited to Mauritania; resident at Dakar.
 
Mercer Cook
Appointment: Jul 9, 1964
Presentation of Credentials: Aug 29, 1964
Termination of Mission: Left post Jul 1, 1966
Note: Also accredited to The Gambia; resident at Dakar.
 
William R. Rivkin
Appointment: Oct 13, 1966
Presentation of Credentials: Dec 16, 1966
Termination of Mission: Died at post Mar 19, 1967
Note: Also accredited to The Gambia; resident at Dakar.
 
L. Dean Brown
Appointment: Oct 18, 1967
Presentation of Credentials: Dec 22, 1967
Termination of Mission: Left post Aug 15, 1970
Note: Also accredited to The Gambia; resident at Dakar.
 
G. Edward Clark
Appointment: Oct 12, 1970
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 18, 1970
Termination of Mission: Left post Oct 16, 1973
Note: Also accredited to The Gambia; resident at Dakar.
 
O. Rudolph Aggrey
Appointment: Nov 23, 1973
Presentation of Credentials: Jan 7, 1974
Termination of Mission: Left post Jul 10, 1977
Note: Also accredited to The Gambia; resident at Dakar.
 
Herman J. Cohen
Appointment: Jun 24, 1977
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 22, 1977
Termination of Mission: Left post Jul 21, 1980
Note: Also accredited to The Gambia; resident at Dakar.
 
Walter C. Carrington
Appointment: Aug 27, 1980
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 16, 1980
Termination of Mission: Left post Mar 3, 1981
 
Charles W. Bray, III
Appointment: Jun 30, 1981
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 18, 1981
Termination of Mission: Left post May 17, 1985
 
Lannon Walker
Appointment: Jul 12, 1985
Presentation of Credentials: Aug 7, 1985
Termination of Mission: Left post Aug 18, 1988
 
George Edward Moose
Appointment: Apr 28, 1988
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 13, 1988
Termination of Mission: Left post May 21, 1991
 
Katherine Shirley
Appointment: Mar 25, 1991
Presentation of Credentials: June 5, 1991
Termination of Mission: Left post Sept 1, 1992
 
Mark Johnson
Appointment: May 25, 1993
Presentation of Credentials: June 22, 1993
Termination of Mission: Left post Jun 15, 1996
 
Dane Farnsworth Smith, Jr.
Appointment: Jun 11, 1996
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 16, 1996
Termination of Mission: Left post Jul 16, 1999
 
Harriet L. Elam-Thomas
Appointment: Nov 16, 1999
Presentation of Credentials: Jan 14, 2000
Termination of Mission: Left post Dec 6, 2002
 
Richard Allan Roth
Appointment: Nov 15, 2002
Presentation of Credentials: Jan 3, 2003
Termination of Mission: Left post Aug 4, 2005
Note: Also accredited to Guinea-Bissau; resident at Dakar.
 
Janice L. Jacobs
Appointment: Feb 21, 2006
Presentation of Credentials: Apr 14, 2006
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jul 15, 2007
Note: Also accredited to Guinea-Bissau; resident at Dakar.
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Senegal's Ambassador to the U.S.
ambassador-image Niang, Cheikh

The West African nation of Senegal sent a new ambassador to Washington this summer. Cheikh Niang was appointed to the post as of June 12, and presented his credentials to President Barack Obama on July 30. He succeeded Fatou Danielle Diagne, who served as Senegal’s ambassador to the U.S. starting in March 2010. Niang is serving concurrently as Senegal’s ambassador to Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Panama, and Costa Rica.

 

A career diplomat, Niang was an English teacher at Senegal’s National School of Administration and Magistracy before joining his country’s diplomatic corps 20 years ago. He served as a spokesman for the Organization of African Unity during the 1990s and then as minister counselor at Senegal’s Mission to the United Nations in New York during the next decade. Other highlights of his diplomatic career include service as consul general in New York from 2007 to 2010 and as ambassador of Senegal to South Africa from 2010 to 2012. Niang has also served as diplomatic adviser to the President of Senegal.

 

He is married to Aisatta Sall Niang.

-Matt Bewig

 

Entretien avec Son Excellence Cheikh Niang Ambassadeur du Senegal aux USA (Interview with His Excellency Ambassador of Senegal Cheikh Niang) (by Cheikh Tidiane Mbengue, Sud Quotidien)

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Senegal's Embassy Web Site in the U.S.
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U.S. Ambassador to Senegal

Zumwalt, James P.
ambassador-image

 

On September 11, 2014, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing on the nomination of James P. Zumwalt, a career Foreign Service officer to be the U.S. Ambassador to Senegal and Guinea-Bissau. If confirmed, it would be his first ambassadorial post.

 

Zumwalt is from El Cajon, California. His parents were high school teachers and his uncle was Navy Admiral Elmo Zumwalt.

 

Zumwalt’s first experience with diplomacy was as an exchange student to Japan in 1973 while he was in high school. It didn’t begin well as he had a lot of trouble learning Japanese. He persevered and was finally able to read, write and speak the language. He continued to study Japanese in college, earning a B.A. in American history and Japanese language from the University of California-Berkeley in 1979. He did some post-graduate work studying Japanese at two universities in Japan.

 

Upon joining the Foreign Service, one of his first assignments was in Kinshasa, Zaire (now Democratic Republic of the Congo) as economic officer from 1981 to 1983. Zumwalt’s next assignment, as a consular officer in Kobe from 1983 to 1985, allowed him to use the Japanese he had learned. He came back to the United States as political officer in the Office of Philippine Affairs in 1987. He returned to Japan in 1989 as an economic officer at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo until 1993. Then, he was in Washington as economic unit chief in the Office of Korean Affairs at the Department of State and the following year was made special assistant to the assistant secretary in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs.

 

In 1998, he earned a Master’s degree in International Security Studies from the National War College.

 

In 1999, Zumwalt began a tour as an economic minister-counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. He returned to Tokyo in 2002 as an economic counselor and economic minister at the embassy there. Zumwalt was posted back to Washington in 2006 as director of the Office of Japanese Affairs. He went back to Tokyo in 2008 as deputy chief of mission, serving as chargé d’affaires for a time during 2009. While there, he wrote a blog for the embassy website focusing on Japanese culture and other issues. In 2012, Zumwalt was back in Washington as deputy assistant secretary of state for Japan and Korea, a post he held until his nomination to be ambassador.

 

Zumwalt is married to Ann Kambara, a fellow Foreign Service officer. They met while both were serving in Japan in 1983. In addition to Japanese, Zumwalt speaks some Chinese and French.

-Steve Straehley

 

To Learn More:

Official Biography

Testimony before the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs (pdf)

State Department Cables 2005-2010 (WikiLeaks)

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Previous U.S. Ambassador to Senegal

Lukens, Lewis
ambassador-image

Lewis Lukens, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, has served as the U.S. ambassador to Senegal and to Guinea-Bissau since July 11, 2011. As the son of a diplomat, Lukens once lived in Senegal as a child.

 
His father, Alan W. Lukens, served as U.S. ambassador to the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville) from 1984 to 1987, having previously served as consul in Brazzaville 1960-1961. Alan Lukens’ wife, children and mother were killed in a plane crash in the Central African Republic. Lewis Lukens was born to Alan and his second wife, Susan.
 
Following his father, Lukens, as a child, also lived in Morocco, Kenya and Denmark. Lukens graduated from St. Paul Catholic School in Princeton, New Jersey in 1982 and earned his bachelor’s degree in history in 1986 from Princeton University. He returned to Princeton in 2002 and earned a masters in public policy.
 
After joining the Foreign Service in 1989, Lukens’ first two tours were in Guangzhou, China, (1990) and Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire (1992). 
 
He later served management officer in Sydney, Australia (1995), management counselor in Dublin, Ireland (2003) and as executive secretary in Baghdad, Iraq (2004),
 
Lukens has served in a variety of positions in the State Department and the White House. He was senior director for administration at the National Security Council during and after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, served in the State Department’s Executive Secretariat, and worked as special assistant to the director general of the Foreign Service. 
 
He was U.S. Consul General in Vancouver, Canada, from 2005-2008. In this capacity, he oversaw the work of eight government agencies and managed a range of trade, border, national security, and public diplomacy issues. 
 
Prior to becoming ambassador, Lukens returned to the State Department’s Executive Secretariat, this time as executive director managing the office that provides travel, information technology, human resource, budget, security, and contracting support to the secretary of state and other State Department leaders.
 
Lukens and his wife, Lucy, have two daughters.
 
Official Biography (U.S. Embassy Senegal)

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Overview

Located in Western Africa, between Mauritania, Mali, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, and the Atlantic Ocean, and surrounding Gambia. Senegal first became an Islamic nation in the 11th century. The Mandingo Empires ruled Senegal for several centuries, but by the 15th century, several European countries vied for the opportunity to colonize the area, among them England, the Netherlands and Portugal. But it was France that gained control of Senegal by 1677, and exploited it as a departure point in the slave trade. In 1959, Senegal briefly merged with French Soudan to form the Mali Federation, and became independent from France. However, the federation broke apart in August of that same year, leaving Senegal completely independent. President Senghor and Prime Minister Mamadou Dia governed together in a parliamentary system for a time. But when a Dia coup was thwarted in December 1962, Senegal adopted a new constitution that increased the power of President. Senghor, who remained in control until his retirement in 1980. He handed power to Abdou Diouf, who did much to reduce government involvement in the economy and helped to create diplomatic relations with other developing nations. In 2000, Diouf was defeated in elections by Abdoulaye Wade, who was able to sign a peace treaty with two separatist factions of the Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance. The Untied States is encouraging the government of Senegal to work towards a negotiated settlement and dialogue with the separatists of Casamance.  

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Basic Information

Lay of the Land: In westernmost West Africa, Senegal is bordered on the north by Mauritania, on the east by Mali, on the south by Guinea and Guinea-Bissau, and on the west by the Atlantic Ocean. The 250-mile tongue of the Gambia lies just across the southern portion of the country. The dry north anticipates the Sahara Desert. Four parallel rivers, for the most part navigable, traverse the central and southern grasslands.

 
Population: 12.9 million
 
Religions: Muslim (syncretic with traditional beliefs) 94%, Christian 4%, Ethnoreligious 2%.
 
Ethnic Groups: Wolof 43.3%, Pular 23.8%, Serer 14.7%, Jola 3.7%, Mandinka 3%, Soninke 1.1%, European and Lebanese 1%.
 
Languages: Wolof 33.0%, Pulaar 22.0%, Serer-Sine 11.5%, Jola (Kasa and Fonyi) 3.0%, Mandinka 5.6%, Western Maninkakan 3.5%. There are 36 living languages in Senegal.
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History

Senegal was originally settled in prehistoric times, but  Islam came to the region in the 11th century. Today’s Senegal was part of the three empires of Ghana, Songhai, and Mali. Although the dominant religions of Senegal are Islam and Christianity, traditional religions played an important part in people’s lives in the early periods of Senegal’s history.

 
The Mandingo empires ruled the areas to the east and took over the country and formed the Jolof Empire of Senegal. By the 16th century, however, the Jolof Empire had split into four parts: the Jolof, Waalo, Caypr and Baol kingdoms.
 
In 15th Century, Africa became a destination for European explorers, and the Portuguese were the first to establish trading posts along the coast of Senegal. At first the trade was dominated by gold, ivory, and pepper, but soon the expansion of plantations in the Americas led to an increased demand for labor. Many West Africans were captured and shipped across the Atlantic. In the meantime, other European powers, particularly i the Dutch and the English, joined in the competition to control and exploit Senegal, as well as other parts of Africa.
 
By 1677, France gained control of the country, which had become an important departure point for the slave trade. The French continued to operate along Senegal’s coast until the 1850s, when they began to expand their foothold into the central part of the country, wiping out native populations along the way.
 
The Pan-AfricanCongresses, a series of five meetings in 1919, 1921, 1923, 1927, and 1945 addressed issues related to the European colonization of Africa. The congress of 1945, in particular, was a turning point in African history because it was attended by many outstanding African delegates, including Léopold Senghor who later became Senegal’s first president. The Congress demanded an end to colonial rule and racial and economic discrimination and addressed the needs of all black people around the world. The conference emphasized their common experiences of blackness and called upon black people to unite for their liberation. Working for the revival of African cultures and arts, Senghor coined the term negritude by turning the racial slur “negre” into a positively connoted word. Negritude, an ideology that celebrates black culture and heritage, became a guiding principle for the political works of many African leaders who worked to decolonize their countries.
 
In January 1959, Senegal and French Soudan merged to form the Mali Federation. The federation broke up a little more than year later, with Senegal proclaiming its independence (on June 20, 1960), as did French Soudan (later renamed the Republic of Mali). Léopold Sedar Senghor, a poet, politician and statesman, was elected as Senegal’s first president in August 1960.
 
Senghor ruled with Prime Minister Mamadou Dia under a parliamentary system. In December 1962, however, Prime Minister Dia attempted a coup, which was defeated without bloodshed. Dia was arrested and imprisoned, and Senegal adopted a new constitution that consolidated the president’s powers.
 
In 1980, Senghor retired from politics and handed over power to his handpicked successor, Abdou Diouf. Diouf was president from 1981-2000, encouraging greater participation in the country’s politics and reducing the government’s involvement in the economy. He also formed new diplomatic relations, particularly with other developing nations.
 
In February 1982, Senegal joined with Gambia to form the confederation of Senegambia. But the union that had been sought between the two nations was never carried out, and it was dissolved in 1989.
 
Diouf’s term was not unmarred by violence, and border tensions, along with a separatist movement in the southern region of the Casamance, resulted in street fighting. But overall, Senegal has moved towards greater democracy and human rights since that time. After serving four terms as president, Diouf was defeated in 2000 elections by opposition leader Abdoulaye Wade (pronounced "wahd").
 
On December 30, 2004, Wade announced that he would sign a peace treaty with two separatist factions of the Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance (MFDC) in the Casamance region. The treaty has held, for the most part, and refugees have begun to come back from Guinea-Bissau.
 
On April 3, 2010, Senegal unveiled a 164-foot tall “African Renaissance Monument” that was designed by President Wade. The $20 million statue features a man, a woman, and a child who are facing the Atlantic Ocean. The construction of this monument was financed with the help of money gained by selling land to North Korea. The statue was unveiled at the 50th anniversary celebration of Senegal’s independence from France, and it emphasizes the pride of Africa and being black. It is also meant to be a reminder of the journey that their ancestors made to America. Construction of this costly monument was much criticized because the entire region of West Africa is dealing with various financial problems. In addition, in an overwhelmingly Muslim country, many Senegalese objected to the revealing clothing of the woman featured in the statue. Wade and his supporters claim that the monument will attract tourists and the proceeds will be used to benefit Senegal’s children.
 
History of Senegal (Wikipedia)
Timeline of Senegal History (World Statesmen)
Government of Senegal  (Discover Senegal)
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History of U.S. Relations with Senegal

The history of the US-Senegal relationship can be traced back to the Transatlantic trade, in which goods and slaves were shipped out of Africa to Americas and Europe. According to economist Nathan Nunn, in The Long-Term Effects of Africa’s Slave Trades, 278,195 slaves were taken from Senegal and shipped across the Atlantic to the Americas.

 
Diplomatic relations between the United States and Senegal were established on October 8, 1960.
 
President Diouf paid his first official visit to Washington, DC, in August 1983 and traveled to the US several times thereafter.
 
In 1995, Senegal hosted the Second African-African American Summit. First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton began her trip to Africa in March 1997 with a visit to Senegal, and President Bill Clinton visited Senegal in 1998.
 
In June 2001, President Abdoulaye Wade met President George W. Bush at the White House. Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Walter Kansteiner visited Senegal in August 2001. Foreign Minister Tidiane Gadio met Secretary of State Colin Powell in September and November 2001.
 
Senegal took a strong position against terrorism in the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against the US, and in October 2001 hosted a conference establishing the African Pact Against Terrorism According to BBC News , “He[President Wade] suggested that the Organization of African Unity establish a seven-member committee of African heads of state to ensure that no country on the continent offered sanctuary to terrorist groups, much less money or aid. Senegal's population is 95% Muslim, but fundamentalist Islam is not common and relations with the Christian minority are good. He went to Paris from London where he was part of a delegation of six African heads of state which held talks with Prime Minister Tony Blair.”
 
During President Bush’s July 2003 visit to Africa, Senegal was his first stop. According to CNN, “His [President Bush] itinerary includes Senegal, perhaps the continent's most peaceful and prosperous nation; South Africa, an economic powerhouse; Botswana, the fastest-growing developing country in the world; Uganda, where AIDS rates are falling dramatically this decade; and Nigeria, a key U.S. ally in the war on terrorism. The president brings with him pledges of $15 billion over five years to fight AIDS, $200 million in famine relief and $100 million to fight terrorism. The trip, originally set for January but postponed as the nation prepared for war in Iraq, could uniquely appeal to opposite ends of the political spectrum in the United States. Bush hopes to reach out to both blacks, the voting bloc from which polls say he faces his most intractable resistance, and religious conservatives, who solidly back him but have been pushing his administration to invest more in global anti-poverty and hunger programs.”
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Current U.S. Relations with Senegal

Noted Senegalese-Americans

GaboureyGabby” Sidibe; (born May 6, 1983) is known for her performance in the movie Precious. She was born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in Bedford Stuyvesant. Her mother, Alice Tan Ridley, is an African-American R&B (Rhythm and blues)and gospel singer, and her Senegal-born father, Ibnou Sidibe, is a cab driver. Sidibe won the Best Actress Academy Award in 2009, and on February 2, 2010, she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress.
 
Akon (born Aliaune Badara Akon Thiam), is a rapper, singer-songwriter, record producer, and businessman. He was born in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S. His father, Mor Thiam, was a Senegalese percussionist. Akon rose to success with the release of “Locked Up” from his album Trouble, and won the Grammy Award nomination of the single “Smack That.” During his successful music career, he has earned him 6 Grammy Awards nominations, and he has also produced for well known artists such as Lady Gaga, Colby O'Donis and Leona Lewis.
 
Currently, Senegal enjoys good relations with the US. Senegal has backed US efforts at the UN and in peacekeeping missions, and the US provides considerable economic and technical assistance to Senegal.
 
Millicom, a multinational, mostly American-owned cell phone company, requested arbitration before the World Bank's International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes. after President Wade's son, Karim Wade, and another presidential counselor, Thierno Ousmane Sy, demanded a payment of $200 million to allow Millicom to keep its license. Millicom believes it owns the license to provide cell phone service in Senegal for 20 years, and it refuses to pay this payment. Currrently, Millicom continues to operate in Senegal under the "Tigo" brand with its technically revoked license, waiting for the World Bank court ruling, which could take until mid-2011.

In June 2007, First Lady Laura Bush made Senegal her first stop during a four-country Africa tour in support of the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) and the President Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
 
Lt. Gen Abdoulaye Fall, chief of defense staff, Senegalese Armed Forces, was the first African defense chief to visit U.S. Africa Command headquarters on February 11, 2010.

According to the US Army, “Six other senior Senegalese military officials also visited the command headquarters February 8-11, to discuss security cooperation goals and plan future activities with the command and its service components.”
 
The US Agency for International Development (USAID) program in Senegal focuses on promoting economic growth/private sector development by expanding microfinance and business development services and commercializing natural and non-traditional products; improving local delivery of services and sustainable use of resources; increasing use of decentralized health services; and improving middle school education, especially for girls. In addition, there is a conflict resolution and rehabilitation program to improve conditions for peace in Senegal’s two southern regions known as the Casamance.
 
The Peace Corps program in Senegal has approximately 150 volunteers serving in agriculture, forestry, health, and small business development.
 
The US Embassy’s Cultural Affairs Section administers the Fulbright, Humphrey, and International Visitor exchange programs. The Fulbright teacher, researcher, and lecturer programs are two-way exchanges, supporting American grantees in Senegal during their stay. In addition to exchanges, the section organizes numerous programs for the Senegalese public including US speaker programs, fine arts programs, film festivals, and a book club. Finally, the section organizes an annual regional colloquium for American Studies professionals, journalists, and civic leaders from over 15 countries in Africa.
 
Each year, approximately 300 Senegalese students travel to the US to study.
 
In 2005, 21,869 Americans visited Senegal, up from 20,316 in 2004.
 
In 2006, 4,445 Senegalese visited the US, down 7.5% from 2005. Fewer travelers have come every year since 2002, when 7,762 visited the US.
 
Senegal (USAID)
US launches West Africa Cotton Improvement Program (by Forrest Laws, Delta Farm Press)
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Where Does the Money Flow

U.S. imports from Senegal totaled only $6.9 million in 2009. Leading US imports from Senegal included petroleum products ($1.6 million),  fish and shellfish ($977,000); and non-textile apparel and household goods ( $873,000). Additionally, U.S. imported $248,000 worth of feedstuff and food grains.

 
Top American exports to Senegal in 2009 included $53.5 million in fuel oil, which has increased from $0 in 2005. Passenger cars (new and used) increased from $4.7 million in 2005 to $19.5 million in 2009. Chemicals fertilizers grew from $9,000 in 2005 to $8.0 million in 2009; materials handling equipment from $3.0 million in 2005 to $7.6 million in 2009. Excavating machinery increased from $2.0 million in 2005 to $7.3 million in 2009. Apparel, household goods-textile’s export increased from $2.3 million in 2005 to $5.6 million in 2009. Toiletries and cosmetics’ exports increased from $1.45 million in 2005 to $4.5 million in 2009.
 
The US gave $ 93.8 million in aid to Senegal in 2009. The 2009 budget allocated the most funds to development assistance ($55.8 million) and Global Health and Child survival –USAID $32.0 million,  
 
The 2010 budget estimate is $106,338 million, and 2011 estimate is $136,935 million; this amount may be increased by $30,597.
 
The 2009 budget allocated $38.9 million to Health, $33.0 million to agriculture and $14.5 million to education.
 
The majority of health aid helps Senegal’s battle against tuberculosis. Senegal also receives money through the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) independent of the foreign operations budget.
The health aid to Senegal is aimed to decrease maternal mortality, child mortality and prevent infectious disease such as malaria and tuberculosis (TB); it will also fund programs regarding family planning, reproductive health and nutrition.
 
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Controversies
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Human Rights

According to the latest U.S. State Department report, human rights problems exist in the following areas: “inhuman and degrading treatment of detainees and prisoners; overcrowded prisons; questionable investigative detention and long pretrial detention; corruption and impunity; limits on freedoms of speech, press, and assembly; domestic violence, rape, sexual harassment of women, and discrimination against women; female genital mutilation (FGM); child abuse; child marriage; infanticide; trafficking in persons; and child labor.”

 
Although human rights groups have noted examples of physical abuse committed by security forces, they claimed poor training and supervision resulted in “cruel and degrading treatment in prisons and detention facilities. In particular, they criticized strip-search and interrogation methods. Police reportedly forced detainees to sleep on bare floors, directed bright lights at their pupils, beat them with batons, and kept them in cells with minimal access to air.”
 
During 2009, there was one report of two people injured by landmines, which are continuing to be cleared and deactivated. Many landmines, placed during the long-running war between the central government and secessionist rebels in the Casamance region of southern Senegal remain under the soil. These have killed 147, including 23 children.
 
The weakness of Senegal’s judiciary in punishing criminals has resulted in several cases of mob violence. Due to widespread impunity, civilians often administered punishment themselves by beating thieves before handing them over to security forces.
 
Prison Conditions
Prison and detention center conditions are poor due to lack of funding. The prisons in Senegal are from the colonial era, which has resulted in the overcrowded condition of Senegal’s prisons. The current populations of prisoners in Senegal’s jails are double the size that these prisons should hold. According to the Department of State, “There were 37 prisons with a designed maximum capacity of 3,000 prisoners. However, officials noted in July that there were in fact 7,139 prisoners.… Approximately 2,660 persons were being held in prison facilities in pretrial detention. There were 200 children being held with their mothers in prison.” The National Organization for Human Rights (ONDH), which visited prisons and met with prisoners, reported that several inmates complained about inhuman treatment and showed marks resulting from corporal punishment. Also, according to the State Department, “the rape of female prisoners was a serious issue not addressed by government authorities during the year.” The ONDH identified overcrowding and a lack of adequate sanitation as major problems.
 
Prisons lacked doctors and medicine. There was one mattress for every five detainees. Due to an old and overburdened infrastructure, prisons had drainage problems during the rainy season and stifling heat during the summer. Prisons were infested by bugs, and prisoners faced sexual assaults, suffocating heat, and extremely low-quality food.
 
Impunity and corruption were problems. According to human rights groups, attorneys, and alleged victims, security forces regularly and openly extorted money from detainees in exchange for release and from prostitutes to overlook noncompliance with the legalized prostitution regime and other laws. The World Bank’s worldwide governance indicators reflected that corruption was a serious problem.
 
Although the law specifies that warrants issued by judges are required for arrests, in practice police often lacked warrants when detaining individuals.
 
The government used security forces to harass journalists and a member of the Assembly for the Defense of Human Rights (RADDHO). There was at least one report that police arrested and beat a journalist.
 
Judicial backlogs and absenteeism of judges contributed to long pretrial detention periods. The law states that an accused person may not be held in pretrial detention for more than six months for minor crimes. However, persons were routinely held in custody until a court demanded their release.
 
Human rights organizations stated that illegal phone monitoring by security services was common practice.
 
Community radio operators criticized what they viewed as a lack of transparency in the allocation of radio frequencies. Radio stations, often controlled by a single religious, political, or ethnic group continued to be opened during the year. Although their frequencies were legally obtained, these stations often failed to follow labor and other business rules, such as tax requirements.
 
Government failure to enforce regulations on establishing media outlets and government-provided media assistance resulted in an increase of unprofessional or politicized media outlets.
 
Journalists continued to convey concern over government efforts to control media content by selectively granting or withholding state subsidies, which were given to both government-affiliated and private independent media. The government frequently used subsidies or more direct means to pressure the media not to publicize certain issues. Security forces harassed and arrested journalists during the year.
 
Although the constitution and law provide for freedom of assembly, the government interfered with this right in practice. During the year the government repeatedly denied public permits for civil society and opposition demonstrations.
 
Some human rights organizations alleged that their telephones were regularly tapped during the year.
Death threats against leaders of opposition political parties, unions, journalists, and NGOs were common and generally believed to originate in circles close to the ruling party.
 
Gender discrimination was(is or was ?) widespread in practice, and antidiscrimination laws often were not enforced. Domestic violence, rape, sexual harassment, discrimination against women, female genital mutilation (FGM), child abuse, child marriage, and trafficking in persons were problems. Domestic violence, including spousal abuse, was a widespread problem.
 
Sexual harassment is common. The government did not effectively enforce the law, and women’s rights groups claimed sexual harassment victims found it difficult, if not impossible, to present proof sufficient to justify prosecutions. Under national law, women have the right to choose when and whom they marry, but traditional practices restricted a woman’s choice.
 
Women faced pervasive discrimination, especially in rural areas where traditional customs, including polygamy, and rules of inheritance were strongest. According to the law, a woman’s approval is required for a polygamous union, but once in such a union, a woman need not be notified nor give prior consent for the man’s subsequent marriage. Women represented 52% of the population, but were held responsible for 90% of domestic work and 85% of agricultural work. Young girls were trafficked from the rural areas to work in urban areas as underage domestics, and some young girls and boys were forced into prostitution to support their families. Senegal is believed to be a transition point for women to be sent to Europe for commercial sexual exploitation.
 
Exploitation of Children
Child abuse is an ongoing problem . Easily observable are the many poorly dressed, barefoot young boys, known as “talibes,” begging on street corners for food or money for their Quranic teachers, known as marabouts. These children are exploited by their teachers and exposed to dangers. Physical abuse of talibes was widely known and discussed. According to Human Rights Watch, “the marabout typically collects between US$20,000 and $60,000 a year from the boys' begging - a substantial sum in a country where most people live on less than $2 a day. Interviews suggest that some marabouts amass upward of $100,000 a year through exploiting children in their care.”
 
 Even though Senegal’s government criminalized forcing others to beg for personal financial gain, the government has been unable to enforce the law or even charge one marabout so far. At least 50,000 of these boys are forced to beg and many of them are between 4 to 12 years of age; they are forced to live under slave-like conditions. As many as 30 of them have to sleep in one room; many of them suffer from malnutrition and are subjected to physical and sexual abuse. In addition, being forced to beg in the streets may cause them to get hit by cars. Their needs are mostly neglected, and if they need medicine, they have to beg overtime to pay for it.
 
There were periodic reports of child rape and pedophilia. Due to social pressures and fear of embarrassment, incest remained taboo and often went unreported and unpunished. A women’s rights NGO stated that, of all cases of violence committed against girls, paternal incest was rising the fastest.
 
Homosexuality is a criminal offense, and homosexuals faced widespread discrimination and social intolerance. Article 319.3 of Senegal's penal code, indicates that "whoever commits an improper or unnatural act with a person of the same sex will be punished by imprisonment of between one and five years."
 
While there are legal regulations on workplace safety, they often were not enforced. There is no explicit legal protection for workers who file complaints about unsafe working conditions. Workers, including foreign or migrant workers, had the right to remove themselves from situations that endangered health or safety without jeopardy to their employment; however, it was seldom exercised due to high unemployment and a slow legal system.
 
Casamance
Civil war broke out in 1982 between Senegal’s government and the Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance (MFDC), which seeks independence for the Casamance region. Casamance is an area of Senegal between Gambia and Guinea-Bissau which is agriculturally rich, and which used to be a tourist destination before the conflict began.
 
The conflict has displaced 60,000 civilians and disrupted the livelihood of many villages. The contributing factors to the conflict are economic issues, historic conflicts, and lack of respect of the indigenous norms. This conflict has negatively affected the environment (landmines), and forced many schools and health clinics to close or move; overall it has increased poverty in Casamance.
 
According to the State Department, rebels from the Movement of Democratic Forces of the Casamance (MFDC) and a splinter group, the Movement for the Liberation of the People of the Casamance, killed civilians, committed robberies, and harassed local populations while fighting each other. There was an increase in violence against and killings of civilians as a result of fighting between government forces and Atika, a separatist movement led by rebel leader Salif Sadio.
 
Fighting between soldiers and rebels, as well as internal fighting among rival MFDC factions, has resulted in civilian deaths and injuries and the displacement of numerous person. Attacks and highway robberies by suspected rebels also occurred.
 
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Debate
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Past Ambassadors

Henry S. Villard
Appointment: Oct 8, 1960
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 31, 1960
Termination of Mission: Left post Apr 30, 1961
Note: Also accredited to Mauritania; resident at Dakar. Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Feb 6, 1961.

 
Philip M. Kaiser
Appointment: Jun 22, 1961
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 20, 1961
Termination of Mission: Left post May 18, 1964
Note: Also accredited to Mauritania; resident at Dakar.
 
Mercer Cook
Appointment: Jul 9, 1964
Presentation of Credentials: Aug 29, 1964
Termination of Mission: Left post Jul 1, 1966
Note: Also accredited to The Gambia; resident at Dakar.
 
William R. Rivkin
Appointment: Oct 13, 1966
Presentation of Credentials: Dec 16, 1966
Termination of Mission: Died at post Mar 19, 1967
Note: Also accredited to The Gambia; resident at Dakar.
 
L. Dean Brown
Appointment: Oct 18, 1967
Presentation of Credentials: Dec 22, 1967
Termination of Mission: Left post Aug 15, 1970
Note: Also accredited to The Gambia; resident at Dakar.
 
G. Edward Clark
Appointment: Oct 12, 1970
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 18, 1970
Termination of Mission: Left post Oct 16, 1973
Note: Also accredited to The Gambia; resident at Dakar.
 
O. Rudolph Aggrey
Appointment: Nov 23, 1973
Presentation of Credentials: Jan 7, 1974
Termination of Mission: Left post Jul 10, 1977
Note: Also accredited to The Gambia; resident at Dakar.
 
Herman J. Cohen
Appointment: Jun 24, 1977
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 22, 1977
Termination of Mission: Left post Jul 21, 1980
Note: Also accredited to The Gambia; resident at Dakar.
 
Walter C. Carrington
Appointment: Aug 27, 1980
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 16, 1980
Termination of Mission: Left post Mar 3, 1981
 
Charles W. Bray, III
Appointment: Jun 30, 1981
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 18, 1981
Termination of Mission: Left post May 17, 1985
 
Lannon Walker
Appointment: Jul 12, 1985
Presentation of Credentials: Aug 7, 1985
Termination of Mission: Left post Aug 18, 1988
 
George Edward Moose
Appointment: Apr 28, 1988
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 13, 1988
Termination of Mission: Left post May 21, 1991
 
Katherine Shirley
Appointment: Mar 25, 1991
Presentation of Credentials: June 5, 1991
Termination of Mission: Left post Sept 1, 1992
 
Mark Johnson
Appointment: May 25, 1993
Presentation of Credentials: June 22, 1993
Termination of Mission: Left post Jun 15, 1996
 
Dane Farnsworth Smith, Jr.
Appointment: Jun 11, 1996
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 16, 1996
Termination of Mission: Left post Jul 16, 1999
 
Harriet L. Elam-Thomas
Appointment: Nov 16, 1999
Presentation of Credentials: Jan 14, 2000
Termination of Mission: Left post Dec 6, 2002
 
Richard Allan Roth
Appointment: Nov 15, 2002
Presentation of Credentials: Jan 3, 2003
Termination of Mission: Left post Aug 4, 2005
Note: Also accredited to Guinea-Bissau; resident at Dakar.
 
Janice L. Jacobs
Appointment: Feb 21, 2006
Presentation of Credentials: Apr 14, 2006
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jul 15, 2007
Note: Also accredited to Guinea-Bissau; resident at Dakar.
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Senegal's Ambassador to the U.S.
ambassador-image Niang, Cheikh

The West African nation of Senegal sent a new ambassador to Washington this summer. Cheikh Niang was appointed to the post as of June 12, and presented his credentials to President Barack Obama on July 30. He succeeded Fatou Danielle Diagne, who served as Senegal’s ambassador to the U.S. starting in March 2010. Niang is serving concurrently as Senegal’s ambassador to Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Panama, and Costa Rica.

 

A career diplomat, Niang was an English teacher at Senegal’s National School of Administration and Magistracy before joining his country’s diplomatic corps 20 years ago. He served as a spokesman for the Organization of African Unity during the 1990s and then as minister counselor at Senegal’s Mission to the United Nations in New York during the next decade. Other highlights of his diplomatic career include service as consul general in New York from 2007 to 2010 and as ambassador of Senegal to South Africa from 2010 to 2012. Niang has also served as diplomatic adviser to the President of Senegal.

 

He is married to Aisatta Sall Niang.

-Matt Bewig

 

Entretien avec Son Excellence Cheikh Niang Ambassadeur du Senegal aux USA (Interview with His Excellency Ambassador of Senegal Cheikh Niang) (by Cheikh Tidiane Mbengue, Sud Quotidien)

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Senegal's Embassy Web Site in the U.S.
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U.S. Ambassador to Senegal

Zumwalt, James P.
ambassador-image

 

On September 11, 2014, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing on the nomination of James P. Zumwalt, a career Foreign Service officer to be the U.S. Ambassador to Senegal and Guinea-Bissau. If confirmed, it would be his first ambassadorial post.

 

Zumwalt is from El Cajon, California. His parents were high school teachers and his uncle was Navy Admiral Elmo Zumwalt.

 

Zumwalt’s first experience with diplomacy was as an exchange student to Japan in 1973 while he was in high school. It didn’t begin well as he had a lot of trouble learning Japanese. He persevered and was finally able to read, write and speak the language. He continued to study Japanese in college, earning a B.A. in American history and Japanese language from the University of California-Berkeley in 1979. He did some post-graduate work studying Japanese at two universities in Japan.

 

Upon joining the Foreign Service, one of his first assignments was in Kinshasa, Zaire (now Democratic Republic of the Congo) as economic officer from 1981 to 1983. Zumwalt’s next assignment, as a consular officer in Kobe from 1983 to 1985, allowed him to use the Japanese he had learned. He came back to the United States as political officer in the Office of Philippine Affairs in 1987. He returned to Japan in 1989 as an economic officer at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo until 1993. Then, he was in Washington as economic unit chief in the Office of Korean Affairs at the Department of State and the following year was made special assistant to the assistant secretary in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs.

 

In 1998, he earned a Master’s degree in International Security Studies from the National War College.

 

In 1999, Zumwalt began a tour as an economic minister-counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. He returned to Tokyo in 2002 as an economic counselor and economic minister at the embassy there. Zumwalt was posted back to Washington in 2006 as director of the Office of Japanese Affairs. He went back to Tokyo in 2008 as deputy chief of mission, serving as chargé d’affaires for a time during 2009. While there, he wrote a blog for the embassy website focusing on Japanese culture and other issues. In 2012, Zumwalt was back in Washington as deputy assistant secretary of state for Japan and Korea, a post he held until his nomination to be ambassador.

 

Zumwalt is married to Ann Kambara, a fellow Foreign Service officer. They met while both were serving in Japan in 1983. In addition to Japanese, Zumwalt speaks some Chinese and French.

-Steve Straehley

 

To Learn More:

Official Biography

Testimony before the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs (pdf)

State Department Cables 2005-2010 (WikiLeaks)

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Previous U.S. Ambassador to Senegal

Lukens, Lewis
ambassador-image

Lewis Lukens, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, has served as the U.S. ambassador to Senegal and to Guinea-Bissau since July 11, 2011. As the son of a diplomat, Lukens once lived in Senegal as a child.

 
His father, Alan W. Lukens, served as U.S. ambassador to the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville) from 1984 to 1987, having previously served as consul in Brazzaville 1960-1961. Alan Lukens’ wife, children and mother were killed in a plane crash in the Central African Republic. Lewis Lukens was born to Alan and his second wife, Susan.
 
Following his father, Lukens, as a child, also lived in Morocco, Kenya and Denmark. Lukens graduated from St. Paul Catholic School in Princeton, New Jersey in 1982 and earned his bachelor’s degree in history in 1986 from Princeton University. He returned to Princeton in 2002 and earned a masters in public policy.
 
After joining the Foreign Service in 1989, Lukens’ first two tours were in Guangzhou, China, (1990) and Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire (1992). 
 
He later served management officer in Sydney, Australia (1995), management counselor in Dublin, Ireland (2003) and as executive secretary in Baghdad, Iraq (2004),
 
Lukens has served in a variety of positions in the State Department and the White House. He was senior director for administration at the National Security Council during and after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, served in the State Department’s Executive Secretariat, and worked as special assistant to the director general of the Foreign Service. 
 
He was U.S. Consul General in Vancouver, Canada, from 2005-2008. In this capacity, he oversaw the work of eight government agencies and managed a range of trade, border, national security, and public diplomacy issues. 
 
Prior to becoming ambassador, Lukens returned to the State Department’s Executive Secretariat, this time as executive director managing the office that provides travel, information technology, human resource, budget, security, and contracting support to the secretary of state and other State Department leaders.
 
Lukens and his wife, Lucy, have two daughters.
 
Official Biography (U.S. Embassy Senegal)

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