UN urges Senegal to enforce its child laws

DAKAR - The United Nations Children's Fund yesterday urged Senegal to better enforce its laws protecting children from abuse and exploitation, citing a case of two boys abused by their Koranic master.

DAKAR - The United Nations Children's Fund yesterday urged Senegal to better enforce its laws protecting children from abuse and exploitation, citing a case of two boys abused by their Koranic master.

"On Friday, May 28, newspapers reported the case of two boys aged eight and nine years who were abused by their Koranic master," Unicef said.

The children's agency said the public should be moved by "abuse of children, which has crossed the threshold of being tolerable", and called on the government to revisit its laws and do everything necessary to implement them.

The children, known as talibes (disciples) are sent to Koranic schools, often from very poor families, where they are often sent out to beg on the streets and bring a certain amount of money back to their marabouts.

Failure to do so can result in beatings.

Two years ago, Unicef estimated there were 8000 children on the streets of Dakar.

In April, Human Rights Watch denounced the situation in Senegal where "tens of thousands of children are involved in begging", often exploited and abused in the name of religion. - Sapa-AFP

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