General Assembly of COSMAG


After greeting and welcoming everyone, the President of COSMAG recalled the orientations of the previous PGA: 1) Intensify the collaboration with the Episcopal Conference of Gabon and with the Apostolic Nunciature; 2) Create instances of listening for victims of abuse; 3) Overall recollection of all religious; 4) Animate an overall pastoral care of vocations in the country; 5) Participation in the meetings of Consecrated Life for more solidarity, outreach, collaboration... 6) Continuing the ISR project; 7) Drawing up a convention between the CEG and COSMAG on education...

Finally, she reminded everyone to be faithful to the payment of dues which constitute the only resource of the Association of Major Superiors of Gabon.



After this first intervention, the Moderator of the session, Fr. Elvis A., introduced and gave the floor to the main guest of the day in the person of Mr. Pascal Benga Tounengoye, a jurist who developed the following theme Sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable persons in Gabonese law. The speaker expressed himself freely but with pedagogy.

Indeed, after defining the concepts of minors, vulnerable persons and sexual abuse, he distinguished the different types of majority and minority in Gabonese law, then stressed that consent does not exist in the person as long as in the eyes of the law he is defined as a minor.

In addition, Gabonese law obliges the reporting of all perpetrators of sexual abuse. Those who cover up such abuse are considered accomplices. They incur exactly the same penalties as those guilty of abuse, i.e. 10 years' imprisonment, or 30 years' imprisonment with a 20 million fine to be paid to the State for those in a position of authority: parents, educators, clerics and ministers of religion, etc. Nevertheless, Gabonese law recognises the secrecy of the confessional. Silence does not constitute an offence under Gabonese law in this specific situation. But in other cases, anyone who knows about the abuse is obliged to make a statement to the prosecutor or a police officer...

The presentation raised many questions on: customs, the notion of vulnerability, on the consent of minors, on sexual harassment and even on the signs of identification of sexual predators and the management in case of suspicion...

In conclusion of his presentation, Mr. Pascal Benga T. invited COSMAG to have in its library the texts of the Gabonese Law and promised to offer them to the participants