Ambassador Tulinabo Mushingi
Closing Ceremony of the Rencontres Pénitentiaires à Sébikotane
Hôtel Palm Beach
November 20, 2017
On behalf of the United States of America, I would like to congratulate the Republic of Senegal for the successful completion of the first-ever Rencontres Pénitentiaires à Sébikotane (RPS). The Minister of Justice H.E. Ismaila Madior Fall, Director of the Prison Administration Colonel David Diop, Director of the Prison Training Academy Souleymane Fall, and the planning committees have all invested a significant amount of time, energy, and soul – including many sleepless nights – to make this event happen. This event would also not be possible without the diligent preparation and active participation of the delegations from Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, and Niger.
It is safe to say all of your investments have paid off. This is a landmark event in the development of the security sector in West and North Africa, and you should be extremely proud of this achievement.
As the Ambassador of the United States to the Republic of Senegal, I am pleased Senegal hosted this event. Following Senegal’s participation in the Mock Prison Riot in West Virginia, you had the initiative and commitment to adapt this event to the realities and challenges of West and North Africa. Not only this, but you also had the perseverance to make it happen. This model of engagement, in which the United States supports the ambition of our partners, is a perfect model of cooperation between our two countries. I understand that Senegal has even more ambitious plans for prison reform, and we look forward to being there to support you every step of the way.
I’m here today because prison conditions matter. Even in the United States, we do not always give this important sector the resources or thought it deserves. You are all here as public servants who put your lives at risk on a daily basis to ensure the safety of your nation’s citizens. Through your work in corrections, you keep criminals separate from the population, while ensure fair and humane treatment for all individuals, and help offenders reintegrate into society. You also represent a key front in the battle to prevent and counter violent extremism. Your citizens are extremely lucky to have you fighting for them.
This RPS exercise sends a clear message: Prison administrations in the region share a solidarity and commitment to working together. By coming together for this event, you recognize that preventing and managing crises in prisons does not stop at your borders. And, you have translated this recognition into action by organizing a collaborative international event. I also understand you created a regional network of prison administrations, known as the réseau Colorado pour l’émergence penitentiaire en afrique de l’ouest et du nord (RECEPAON), to continue this coordination. I eagerly anticipate the success of this group in exchanging best practices and building on a fraternal foundation.
Let me conclude by saying that we highly value our relationship with each of you. We work together in a spirit of partnership – partnership in which we are honest with one another and hold each other accountable – to improve the lives of our citizens. The United States is stronger for having partners like you – so, thank you.
And thank you also for including the United States in this truly groundbreaking event. I am proud to stand here as your partner and congratulate all each one of you. Hearing about the rigorous training and formidable obstacle course you undertook this week, I will now conclude my remarks so you can relax, celebrate among friends, and enjoy the famous Senegalese teranga!