CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF SENEGAL
Adopted on 7 January 2001
The sovereign people of Senegal,
Deeply attached to their fundamental cultural values which constitute the cement of national unity;
Convinced of the will of all citizens, both men and women, to embrace a common destiny through
solidarity, work and patriotic commitment;
Considering that national construction rests upon individual freedom and respect for the human
person, sources of creativity;
Conscious of the need to affirm and to consolidate the foundations of the nation and the state;
Committed to the ideal of African unity;
• their adherence to the Declaration of Human Rights of 1789 as well as to the international
instruments adopted by the United Nations a nd the Organization of African Unity, in
particular the Universal Declaration of Hum an Rights of 10 December 1948, the Convention
on the Elimination of all Forms of Discriminat ion Against Women of 18 December 1979, the
Convention on the Rights of the Child of 20 November 1989 and the African Charter on
Human and Peoples’ Rights of 27 June 1981;
• their commitment to transparency in the running and management of public affairs as well
as to the principles of good governance;
• their determination to fight for peace and fraterni ty together with all the peoples of the world;
• the inviolable principle of national territorial integrity and national unity with due respect for
the cultural specificity of a ll the components of the nation;
• the unassailability of national sovereignty which is expressed through transparent and
democratic procedures and consultations;
• the respect for fundamental freedoms and civil rights as the basis of Senegalese society;
• the observance and consolidation of the rule of law in which the state and the citizens are
subjected to the same legal norms under the control of an independent and impartial
• access to the exercise of power at all leve ls, for all citizens, without discrimination;
• equal access to public services for all citizens;
• the rejection and elimination of all forms of injustice, inequality and discrimination;
• the will of Senegal to be a modern state run according to the fair and loyal interaction
between a governing majority and a democratic opposition, and a state which recognises
such opposition as a fundamental pillar of democracy and an indispensable part of the
Approve and adopt this Constitution of wh ich the Preamble is an integral part.
TITLE I: THE STAT E AND SOVEREIGNTY
The Republic of Senegal shall be secular, democ ratic and social. It shall ensure equality before
the law for all citizens, without distinction as to origin, race, sex or religion. It shall respect all
faiths. The official language of the Republic of Senegal shall be French. The national languages
shall be Diolo, Malinke, Poular, Serer, Soninke and Wolof and any other national language which
has been codified. …
National Sovereignty shall belong to the Senegalese people who shall exercise it through their
representatives or by way of referendum. No section of the people nor any individual may
assume the exercise of sovereignty. Suffrage ma y be direct or indirect. It shall always be
universal, equal and secret. All Senegalese nationals of either sex who have attained the age of
18 years and enjoy civil and politic al rights, shall be eligible to vote under the conditions
determined by law.
Political parties and coalitions of political parties shall contribute to the expression of suffrage.
They shall be required to respect the Constitution and thus the principles of national sovereignty
and democracy. They are prevented from identifying themselves by race, ethnicity, sex, religion,
sect, language or region.
Any act of racial, ethnic or religious discriminat ion as well as any regionalist propaganda capable
of interfering with the internal se curity of the state or the territorial integrity of the Republic, shall
be punished by law.
TITLE II: PUBLIC LIBERTIES AND THE PERSON
The human person is sacred. The human person is inviolable. The state shall have the obligation
to respect it and to protect it. Every individual has the right to life, to freedom, to security, the free
development of his or her personality, to corporal integrity, and especially to protection against
physical mutilation. The Senegalese people recognise the existence of sacred and inalienable
human rights as the basis of any human community , of peace and of justice in Senegal and the
world. All human beings shall be equal before the law. Men and women shall be equal in law. No
one in Senegal shall have any liabilities or privilege s based upon places of birth, status or family.
The Republic of Senegal guarantees to all citizens their individual fundamental freedoms,
economic and social rights as well as group right s. These freedoms and rights are: Civil and
political liberties, freedom of opinion, freedom of expression, pres s freedom, freedom of
association, freedom to hold meetings, freedom of movement, freedom to protest, cultural
freedoms, religious freedoms, philosophical freedoms, union freedoms, freedom of enterprise, the
right to education, the right to literacy, the right to property, the right to work, the right to health,
the right to a healthy environment, and the right to a variety of information. These freedoms and
rights shall be exercised under t he conditions provided by law.
Any infringement of these freedoms and any internat ional restriction of the exercise of a freedom
shall be punishable by law. No-one may be convic ted other than by virtue of a law which became
effective before the act was committed. Defence is an absolute right at all stages and at all levels
of the proceedings.
Everyone shall have the right to freely express and disseminate his opinions by word, pen or
image or peaceful march, provided that the exer cise of these rights shall not undermine the
honour of and respect due to other persons, nor threaten public order.
The creation of a press body for information on po litics, the economy, culture, sports, recreation
or science shall be free and shall not be subject to prior authorisation of any kind. Press
regulations shall be set by the law.
All citizens shall have the right to freely constitute associations and economic, cultural and social
groups as well as societies, on condition that th ey comply with the formalities set down by the
laws and regulations. Groups whose aim or activi ty is contrary to the penal laws or directed
against public order shall be prohibited.
The secrecy of correspondence and of postal, telegraphic, telephonic or electronic
communications shall be inviolable. This inviolabilit y shall be subject only to such restrictions as
are made applicable by law.
All citizens of the Republic shall have the right to move freely or settle anywhere, within the
national territory and abroad. These freedoms sh all be exercised under the conditions provided
by the law.
The right of property is guaranteed by the presen t Constitution. It may not be impaired except in
the case of public necessity, legally established and subject to the prior payment of just
compensation. Men and women shall have equal rights to gain possession of and own land
subject to conditions determined by the law.
The home shall be inviolable. A house search may not be ordered except by a judge or another
authority designated by law. Searches may be cond ucted only in the form prescribed by these
authorities. Measures impairing or restricting the inviolability of the home may be taken only in
order to provide against a common danger or to protect persons in danger of death. Such
measures may also be taken, pursuant to law, in order to protect public order against impending
threat and especially to combat the risks of epidemics or to protect youth in danger.
Marriage and the Family
Marriage and the family shall constitute the nat ural and moral basis for the human community.
They shall be placed under the protection of the state. The state and the public collectively shall
have the social duty to watch over the physical and moral well-being of the family and, in
particular, of the handicapped and the aged. The state guarantees families in general and those
living in rural areas in particular access to health and welfare services. It also guarantees women
in general and those living in rural areas in particu lar the right to improve their living conditions.
Forced marriage is a violation of personal freedom. It shall be forbidden and punished according
to conditions laid down by law.
Wives shall have the same right to worldly goods and property as their husbands. They shall
have the personal right to m anage their goods and property.
Parents shall have the natural right and the duty to raise their children. They shall be supported in
this task by the state and public collectivities. Youth shall be protected by the state and public
groups against exploitation, drugs, narc otics, moral neglect and delinquency.
The state and the public collectivities shall cr eate the preliminary conditions and the public
institutions which shall guarantee the education of children.
The state shall have the duty and the task of edu cating and training the youth through public
schools. All children, boys and girls, throughout the national territory, shall have the right to attend
school. Religious and non-religious institutions and communities shall also be recognised as
educational facilities. All national, public or private institutions shall have the duty to see to it that
their members learn to read and write; they sha ll have the duty to participate in the national
literacy effort which aims to ensure that ev eryone can read and write one of the national
Private schools may be opened with the authorisation and under the supervision of the state.
Religions and Religious Communities
Freedom of conscience and the free practice and profession of religion and culture, and the
profession of religious education shall, subject to the respect for public order, be guaranteed to
all. Religious institutions and communities shall have the right to develop without hindrance. They
shall not be subject to direct supervision by the state. They shall regulate and administer their
Everyone has the right to work and to seek em ployment. No one may be impeded in his work by
reason of his or her origins, sex, opinions, political choices, or beliefs. A worker may join a labour
union and defend his rights through union activity. Any discrimination between men and women
regarding employment, salary and taxation shall be prohibited. The freedom to create unions or
professional associations will be a recognised right for all workers. The right to strike shall be
recognised. It shall be exercised wi thin the limits of the laws which are applicable thereto. It may
on no account affect the freedom to work, nor en danger enterprise. Every worker shall, through
his delegates, participate in the determination of the conditions of work. The state shall attend to
health and human conditions in the workplace. Specific laws shall determine the conditions of
assistance and protection which the state and business shall grant to the workers.
TITLE III: THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC
Whenever the institutions of t he Republic, the independence of t he nation, the integrity of its
territory, or the execution of its international obligations are seriously and immediately threatened,
or whenever the regular functioning of the governing aut horities or the institutions is disrupted, the
President of the Republic sha ll have access to exceptional po wers. The President may, in a
message, take any measure, aimed at re-establishing the regular functioning of the governing
authorities and to ensure the safeguarding of the nat ion. He may, by virtue of these exceptional
powers, initiate a constitutional revision. The Nati onal Assembly shall convene as of right. It shall
be seated, for ratification, within fifteen days of t heir promulgation, of measures of a legislative
nature put into force by the President. The Assemb ly may amend or reject them at the time of
voting on the ratification law. These measures shall become null and void if a bill for ratification is
not filed with the office of the National Assemb ly within the set period. The National Assembly
cannot be dissolved during the exercise of ex ceptional powers. When these are exercised after
the dissolution of the National Assembly, the poling date set by the dissolution decree may not be
postponed, except in the case of force majeure determined by the Constitutional Court.
TITLE V: OPPOSITION
The Constitution guarantees political parties oppo sed to the government’s policies the right to
opposition. The law shall determine their status and lay down their rights and duties. The
parliamentary opposition is that which is represen ted by its Deputies in the National Assembly.
TITLE VI: RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE LEGISLATIVE POWER AND THE EXECUTIVE
A state of siege, like a state of emergency, shall be decreed by the President of the Republic. The
National Assembly shall then convene as of right, if it is not already in session. The decree
proclaiming the state of siege or a state of emergency shall cease to have effect after a period of
12 days, unless the National Assemb ly, at the request of the President, authorises its extension.
The Constitutional Court may be seated for the purpose of having a law declared unconstitutional:
1. by the President of the Republic, within si x full days following the completed transmission
to him of the definitively adopted law;
2. by a number of Deputies at least equal to a tenth of the members of the National
Assembly, within six full days fo llowing its definitive adoption.
TITLE VIII: THE JUDICIAL POWER
The judicial power shall be independent of the legislative power and the executive power. It shall
be exercised by the Constitutional Court, the Coun cil of State, the Supreme Court, the National
Audit Office and the Courts and Tribunals.
The Constitutional Court shall decide on the constitutionality of laws and international
engagements and of conflicts of competence between the executive and the legislative, conflicts
of competence between the Council of State and t he Supreme Court, as well as of exceptions of
unconstitutionality raised before the Co uncil of State or the Supreme Court.
TITLE IX: INTERNATIONAL TREATIES AND AGREEMENTS
The President of the Republic shall negotiate international commitments. He shall ratify or
… [T]reaties … which concern the status of persons … shall be ratified or approved only by virtue
of a law.
If the Constitutional Court has declared that an international agreement contains a clause
contrary to the Constitution, the authorisation to ratify it or approve it shall only be given after
revision of the Constitution.
Treaties or agreements duly ratified shall, upon th eir publication, have an authority superior to
that of the laws, subject, for each treaty and agreement, to its application by the other party.
TITLE XII: AMENDMENTS
The initiative for amending the Constitution shall belong both to the President of the Republic and
to the Deputies. The Prime Minister may prop ose an amendment of the Constitution to the
President of the Republic. The bill or proposit ion of amendment of the Constitution must be
adopted by the National Assembly. The amended Constitution shall be final after its approval by
referendum. However, the bill of amendment s hall not be presented to a referendum whenever
the President of the Republic decides to submit it to the National Assembly alone; in this case the
bill of amendment shall be approved only if it receiv es a majority of three-fifths of the members of
the National Assembly. … The republican form of the state may not be made the subject of an