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Niger must strengthen the measures taken for access to basic social services throughout its territory

Universal Periodic Review of Niger

JOINT PRESS RELEASE  : Niger must strengthen the measures taken for access to basic social services throughout its territory 

Niamey - Paris, November 3, 2020

AFJN, AREN, FODA-DESC, Human Dignity, SYNAFEN and REPRODEVH Niger submit a report to the Human Rights Council as part of the forthcoming Universal Periodic Review of Niger.[1]

This report highlights the achievements and challenges related to the implementation of the recommendations accepted by Niger since its Universal Periodic Review in 2016 concerning discrimination and persistent violence against women, the justiciability of economic, social and cultural rights and the rights of herders. It also highlights the impact of the security situation in Niger and the ongoing pandemic on the realisation of the right to education.

Our organisations deplore the State manifest lack of political will to lift its reservations to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). Niger must take all necessary measures, including legislative measures, to abrogate all customs and practices which constitute discrimination against women.

We call on the authorities to lift the reservations to CEDAW and to speed up the work of the Committee in charge of overhauling the Civil Code in order to remove any discriminatory provision against women and in particular articles 108, 144, 213 to 216, 506, 507, 228, 296, 389 to 396, 405 and 818 of the Civil Code. NGOs including women's rights organizations should be consulted and involved in this important process. A general legislation to combat discrimination against women should also be adopted.

While the herding sector occupies around 87% of the population of Niger, the situation of pastoralists is worrying. They are caught in a pincer movement and targeted by the defense and security forces and the various armed groups present over a large part of the territory. Added to this is the persistent problem of the diversion and privatization of pastoral areas. Despite the express request of the President of the Republic to dismantle all the ranches and wild enclosures encroaching on the demarcated pastoral areas falling within the public domain of the State, thousands of hectares continue to be sold by local authorities to large private groups or individuals.

The pastoral question deserves greater attention from the authorities. While the ordinance of May 20, 2010 relating to pastoralism recognizes the right to pastoral mobility and specifies the areas reserved for pastoralism, the text is not fully applied. We call on Niger in particular to adopt the implementing decrees necessary for the effective implementation of the 2010 ordinance.

Finally, our organisations are concerned about the dramatic consequences of the terrorist threat combined with the covid-19 pandemic on access to education for students. There is an urgent need to quickly identify students who have not returned to classes after the schools reopened on June 1, 2020, as in Agadez. The Nigerien State must redouble its efforts to ensure an effective resumption of classes at all levels. 

We are aware that the implementation of some of the 2016 UPR recommendations is made difficult by the security situation linked to terrorism and the current health crisis. Although temporary measures have been taken by the authorities to alleviate the multidimensional crisis the country is facing, progress is possible. We therefore call on the authorities and their partners to redouble their efforts to reduce the impact of these crises on the access to basic social services for the populations.

The report is available here (in French only). 

Contact

Mr. Almoctar GARBA ILLOU

President - REPRODEVH Niger

Phone: + 227 96 46 84 86; Email: reprodevhniger@gmail.com 

Submitting NGOs

  • L’Association des femmes juristes du Niger (AFJN)
  • L’Association pour la Redynamisation de l'Élevage au Niger (AREN)
  • Le Forum des Acteurs de la Promotion et la Défense des Droits Économiques, Sociaux et Culturels au Niger (FODA-DESC)
  • Human Dignity
  • Le Syndicat National des Agents de la Formation et de l’Éducation du Niger (SYNAFEN)
  • Le Réseau Progrès Et Développement Humanitaire du Niger (REPRODEVH Niger)

 

 

 

[1] The third Universal Periodic Review of Niger by the Human Rights Council is scheduled for May 2021 (38th session).