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Responding department: Ministry of Industry and Mines / Directorate of Mines and Geology

Has your government taken any initiatives to reduce companies’ negative impacts on human rights that you consider particularly successful?

  • The Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights were unanimously approved by the UN Human Rights Council in its Resolution 17/4, of 16 June 2011, implementing the United Nations “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework.
  • At a regional level, certain provisions of human rights instruments protect human rights in corporate activities, particularly the right to economic, social and cultural development in the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and references to child labour in the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.
  • Several sub-regional instruments (Directive 2009 of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Mining Code of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) highlight the relevance of the topic, which can also be measured against international instruments on issues of mineral resources, human rights and transparency.

The Senegalese authorities have undertaken a process of reform and expressed considerable determination to ensure responsible mining that is not only respectful of human rights and the environment, but also sufficiently profitable to become a means of economic and social change.

  • In response, several firms holding mineral resource exploration and operating licences have expressed their predisposition towards engaging in responsible and fair practices. These firms have brought economic added value nationally thanks to their significant contribution to solving youth and female unemployment, to providing compensation for land issues, restoring livelihoods, improving people’s health, supporting the education sector, etc.

What department or departments have significant responsibility for business and human rights within your government?

Ministry of Industry and Mines; Ministry of Local Governance, Development and Urban Planning; Ministry of the Interior and Civil Protection; Ministry of Health and Social Action; Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development; Ministry of Labour, Social Dialogue, Professional Organisations and Institutional Relations; Ministry of Trade, the Informal Sector, Consumption, Local Product Promotion and SMEs; Ministry of Fisheries and the Marine Economy; Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Facilities; Ministry of Water and Sanitation; Ministry of Infrastructure, Air Transport and Connectivity; Ministry of Post and Telecommunications; Ministry of the Economy, Finance and the Budget; Ministry of Livestock Raising and Farming; Ministry of Tourism and Air Transport; Ministry of Energy and Renewable Energy Development; Ministry of African Integration, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and the Promotion of Good Governance.

Establishment of an interministerial committee.

Has your government undertaken new business & human rights initiatives or strengthened existing ones since the endorsement of the UN Guiding Principles in June 2011?

Yes.

What are the top 5 priority issues that your government has taken steps to address since June 2011?

Top 5 priority issues:

  • Health (including environmental health, workplace health & safety)
  • Forced labour & trafficking
  • Sexual harassment
  • Women’s rights
  • Impacts on children, including child labour

Actions on health

Free healthcare for the elderly.

Actions on forced labour & trafficking

Mining regulation.

Actions on sexual harrassment

Parity, rights and protection of women and children.

Actions on children

Reform of public procurement.

Has your government adopted a National Action Plan on business and human rights as encouraged by the UN Human Rights Council and UN Working Group on business & human rights, or will it do so in the future?

Creation of a Senegalese Human Rights Committee.

The National Action Plan is in currently being prepared (Senegalese Human Rights Committee – SHRC), new Mining Code, Transparency in the Extractive Industries, Respect for and Protection of Human Rights, formalisation of the Mining Social Programme (MSP), Articles L94, L95, L96, L97, L102, L103, L104, L105, L106, L107, L109, L112, L113, L115, L123, L124 of the 2015 Draft Mining Code Bill.

If your government has adopted a National Action Plan or is planning on adopting one, please highlight whether it makes reference to international human rights standards and whether it was developed in consultation with affected stakeholders.

Yes, the National Action Plan developed by the SHRC is currently being prepared. It refers to the Principles of the UN, the African Union, ECOWAS and the WAEMU, and consultation workshops have been organised by SHRC.

Access to remedy: What steps have been taken to develop new judicial or administrative remedies or to reduce barriers to existing remedies for victims?

International Chamber of Commerce, Paris.

[Survey suggested the following remedies: Barriers addressed may include high cost of bringing claims, and lack of lawyers and other legal resources, such as legal aid from NGOs or legal barriers such as doctrines that do not allow victims to bring human rights claims against companies.]

Yes.

[Survey suggested the folliowing remedies: Steps taken may include measures to provide legal aid, to allow group claims or class actions, and to increase resources for prosecutors.]

Yes.

Amicable settlement.

Access to remedy: What steps have been taken to develop new non-judicial remedies, improve existing mechanisms, and reduce barriers for victims?

Labour Court, Amnesty International, Human Rights Commission.

Access to remedy: For companies headquartered in your country or their subsidiaries, has your government taken steps to enhance accountability for human rights impacts abroad?

Compulsory application of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Article L95 of the 2015 Draft Mining Code Bill on respect for and the protection of Human Rights.

Question not applicable.

Which factors impede your government’s ability to take action on business and human rights?

Most important factors:

  • Lack of resources for enforcement, monitoring and prosecution
  • Opposition or lack of consensus within government
  • Political limitations imposed by foreign governments or multilateral institutions
  • Challenges of coordinating across government departments

Significant factor:

  • Other opposition by influential people or groups outside government

Minor factors:

  • Concern about deterring foreign investment
  • Lack of understanding or awareness of business & human rights in government

Not a factor:

  • Opposition by economic interest groups or business associations

What, if any, form of support would your government welcome the most to help advance its actions to improve companies’ impacts on human rights?

[Survey suggested: Forms of support may include capacity-building, training, technical assistance, sharing knowledge, and collaborative learning with peer countries.]

Yes.

Please share with us any further comments, including ideas for future collaboration and shared learning to advance business & human rights.

We would like to further our knowledge of global best practices.