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September 30, 2016 / 27 Elul, 5776
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Senegal’s UN Chair: 2014 Year of Solidarity with Palestinians

Senegal is a source, transit, and destination country for children and women trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation.

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Expressing solidarity with the Palestinians in “their aspirations for independent statehood,” and supporting the ongoing peace talks aimed at a two-state “coexistence for Palestine and Israel,” the UN General Assembly observed the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People on Monday. The day is celebrated annually but this year it was moved up from November 29, to avoid a clash with the Thanksgiving holiday in the US.

The Chair of the General Assembly’s Committee on the exercise of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, Senegal’s ambassador to the UN Abdou Salam Diallo introduced several draft resolutions related to Palestine, asking to declare 2014 as the “International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.”

Diallo also called on the international community to promote a negotiated solution:

“Time is running out. The negotiating process is endangered by certain policies and particularly by the ongoing establishment of Jewish settlements,” he told the meeting.

According to the Trafficking in Persons Report 2008. issued by the U.S. Department of State, Senegal is a source, transit, and destination country for children and women trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation… Within Senegal, religious teachers traffic boys, called talibe, by promising to educate them, but subjecting them instead to forced begging and physical abuse.

A 2007 study done by UNICEF, the ILO, and the World Bank found that 6,480 talibe were forced to beg in Dakar alone. Women and girls are trafficked for domestic servitude and sexual exploitation, including for sex tourism, within Senegal. Boys are trafficked to Senegal from The Gambia, Mali, Guinea-Bissau, and Guinea for forced begging by religious teachers. Senegalese women and girls are trafficked to neighboring countries, the Middle East, and Europe for domestic servitude and for sexual exploitation. Women and girls from other West African countries, particularly Liberia, Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria may be trafficked to Senegal for sexual exploitation, including for sex tourism.

All six proposed resolutions on the issue of a Palestinian state and the harm done by Israeli settlements were adopted.

The majority of speakers who addressed the UN General Assembly stressed equal rights for Palestinians as “the key to establishing a just peace between Israel and Palestine.”

The year-long observance will include special events in cooperation with “governments, relevant organizations of the United Nations system, intergovernmental organizations and civil society.”

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