ISHR & partners launched a Briefing Paper on the situation of Human Rights Defenders in Niger

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Article
30 July 2015

Niger : Stop restricting the rights to freedom of expression and assembly

Author: International Service for Human Rights, Geneva

Today ISHR, the West Africa Human Rights Defenders Network and Collectif des Organisations de Défense des Droits de l'Homme et de la Démocratie launched a briefing paper on the situation of human rights defenders in Niger. The briefing paper highlights concerns over laws which unreasonably restrict the right to freedom of expression and freedom of association. The briefing paper also documents reports of the use of reprisals against human rights defenders working on corporate accountability and transparency issues. ‘Niger’s development in its transition to democracy must be implemented on the ground to ensure the protection of human rights defenders, in particular those working on corporate accountability issues’ said Abdoulaye Kanni, Collectif des Organisations de Défense des Droits de l'Homme et de la Démocratie. The briefing paper serves as a submission to the UPR, which will scrutinise the situation of human rights in Niger in January 2016, and is intended to assist States and other stakeholders to formulate questions and recommendations during the UPR...‘While there has been some progress in Niger, the lack of police knowledge of legislation decriminalising defamation has resulted in arbitrary arrest and detention being used to silence journalists’ said Melanie Sonhaye Kombate, West Africa Human Rights Defenders Network. Particularly at risk are human rights defenders working on transparency issues and journalists critical of the government...ISHR urges States to make strong UPR recommendations regarding the protection of human rights defenders and safeguarding civil society space.

‘While there has been some progress in Niger, the lack of police knowledge of legislation decriminalising defamation has resulted in arbitrary arrest and detention being used to silence journalists’ said Melanie Sonhaye Kombate, West Africa Human Rights Defenders Network.

Particularly at risk are human rights defenders working on transparency issues and journalists critical of the government. Women human rights defenders and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual rights defenders also work in a conservative climate.

- See more at: http://www.ishr.ch/news/niger-stop-restricting-rights-freedom-expression...

States should use the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) to call for greater respect and protection for human rights defenders and civil society actors in Niger. - See more at: http://www.ishr.ch/news/niger-stop-restricting-rights-freedom-expression...
States should use the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) to call for greater respect and protection for human rights defenders and civil society actors in Niger. - See more at: http://www.ishr.ch/news/niger-stop-restricting-rights-freedom-expression...

States should use the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) to call for greater respect and protection for human rights defenders and civil society actors in Niger.

Today ISHR, the West Africa Human Rights Defenders Network and Collectif des Organisations de Défense des Droits de l'Homme et de la Démocratie launched a briefing paper on the situation of human rights defenders in Niger. The briefing paper highlights concerns over laws which unreasonably restrict the right to freedom of expression and freedom of association. The briefing paper also documents reports of the use of reprisals against human rights defenders working on corporate accountability and transparency issues.

- See more at: http://www.ishr.ch/news/niger-stop-restricting-rights-freedom-expression...

Read the full post here

Report
1 June 2015

[PDF] The Situation of Human Rights Defenders in Niger

Author: International Service for Human Rights, West Africa Human Rights Defenders Network and Collectif des Organisations de Défense des Droits de l'Homme et de la Démocratie

In its last Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in May 2010, Niger accepted all six recommendations in relation to freedom of expression, including a specific recommendation calling for respect and protection of human rights defenders (HRDs)...However, the treatment of HRDs indicates disconnect between this development and the reality on the ground. HRDs, in particular those working on corporate accountability and transparency issues, typically face arrest, arbitrary detention and spurious charges...HRDs seeking greater transparency and fairness in dealings between the Government and extractive industries have faced arbitrary arrest and detention. A particularly concerning case resulted in the arrest of HRDs advocating for transparency between French uranium mining company Areva and the Niger Government...Recommendations to the Government of Niger...As an ‘Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative' compliant country and in pursuance of Article 149 of the Constitution, guarantee transparency and ensure civil society engagement in connection with the extractive industry; Ensure companies conducting operations in Niger, including Areva, respect human rights and the activities of HRDs, in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the UN Declaration of HRDs; Publicly state opposition to restrictions on the activities of HRDs working to ensure transparency in relations between the Government and extractive industries...

Read the full post here