News

Joint press release

Universal Periodic Review: Strong recommendations to Niger on economic and social rights

Paris, Niamey, 10 June 2021

Our organisations welcome the recommendations made to Niger during the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in May 2021. The country received 254 recommendations from 95 delegations. Many of these recommendations echo the recommendations on economic, social and cultural rights made by our NGO Coalition*.

Our Coalition, like the delegations, is asking Niger to lift its reservations on certain provisions relating to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). These reservations limit the full application of the Convention in the country and send a negative signal to all women who suffer discrimination. The lifting of these reservations must be accompanied by a harmonisation of statutory, customary and religious law, particularly with regard to the applicability of the provisions of the Penal Code relating to female genital mutilation, and by an acceleration of the process of ratification of the Maputo Protocol.

According to the recommendations made at the UPR and in our joint submission, Niger should also amend Article 144 of its Civil Code, so that the age of marriage is raised to 18 years. In case of non-compliance, sanctions should be taken systematically. Niger should also conduct research on child labour in agriculture to make the elimination of child labour a reality.

Our organisations also welcome the recommendations made to ensure that the rights of nomadic pastoralists are respected in all circumstances. The fight against terrorism must be carried out in strict compliance with international humanitarian law and human rights law, which includes the protection of civilians without discrimination, particularly with regard to certain groups that are subject to special protection, namely women, children, the elderly and the sick. The authorities should also conduct transparent and impartial investigations into alleged human rights violations and abuses committed during counter-terrorism operations, in accordance with Article 96 of the 1996 Constitution.

Finally, regarding the justiciability of economic, social and cultural rights, we welcome the action plan for the implementation of the national Justice and Human Rights policy, the creation of a National Agency for Legal and Judicial Assistance (ANAJJ) and the Economic and Social Development Plan (PDES 2017-2021). However, Niger should continue its efforts and allocate a substantial budget to these respective bodies so that they can carry out their actions.

Contacts

Marvin Thomar, Human Dignity : marvin@hdignity.org

* See our joint submission of 14 October 2020 at https://hdignity.org/RecommandationsNiger__EPU2021.pdf.  

Our Coalition is composed of the Association pour la Redynamisation de l'Élevage au Niger (AREN); the Association des femmes juristes du Niger (AFJN), the Forum des Acteurs de la Promotion et la Défense des Droits Economiques, Sociaux et Culturels au Niger (FODA-DESC); Human Dignity, the Syndicat National des Agents de la Formation et de l'Éducation du Niger (SYNAFEN) and the Réseau Progrès et Développement Humanitaire du Niger (REPRODEVH Niger).