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Niger civil society key leaders arrested following protests againts a new financial law reportedly unfair

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Item
19 April 2018

News: Joint Press Release: Niger – Diplomatic representatives must act for the immediate release of arrested human rights defenders

Author: Publish What You Pay (PWYP)

Organisations including Amnesty International, Front Line Defenders, Publish you pay, and Tournons La Page are urging diplomatic representatives in Niger to firmly condemn human rights abuses and restrictions on civic space by asking for the immediate and unconditional release of human rights defenders detained for exercising their right to peaceful protest..."The Nigerien Constitution, and the international laws ratified by Niger uphold the fundamental rights of freedom of assembly and expression exercised by our civil society colleagues. Standing up against corruption and tax injustice is not grounds for detention" said Suneeta Kaimal, Chair of the Global Council of Publish What You Pay...For Andrea Rocca, deputy director of Front Line Defenders "these acts of the government testify to a will to muzzle the defenders of human rights. The authorities must ensure that in all circumstances defenders can carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of restrictions, including judicial harassment"...In response to this critical situation, civil society organizations are calling for strong and unanimous action by the embassies present in Niamey in support of their demands for the immediate and unconditional release of the imprisoned activists..."The international community can no longer ignore the repeated violations of the fundamental rights of human rights defenders. Without strong action on, the government will feel comfortable implementing repressive policies" said Laurent Duarte, international coordinator of the campaign “Tournons La Page”.

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Item
19 April 2018

News: Open letter for the release of Human Rights Defenders in Niger

Author: Publish What You Pay (PWYP)

We, national and international civil society organisations, wish to express our deep concern regarding the arrest of human rights defenders in Niger by security forces on Sunday 25 March, and their detention ordered by the senior investigating judge in Niamey on Tuesday 27 March. We are also concerned about the detention of Nigerien human rights defenders following further arrests on the 15 April. As an official representative of your government, we call on you, and other diplomatic representatives in Niger, to strongly denounce this unprecedented repression of fundamental freedoms by the governing authorities. We call on you to uphold and protect democratic values, in line with those of your government, by condemning the erosion of the rule of law in Niger and intervening with the authorities to demand the immediate and unconditional release of all human rights defenders incarcerated in relation to peaceful protests. The arrests were made during peaceful protests against the 2018 Finance Law that was passed by the Nigerien Parliament in November 2017...On the 25 March, twenty-three people were arrested, some at the headquarters of civil society organisations, and others during the demonstration. Among the people arrested were Ali Idrissa Nani, Coordinator of ROTAB (Network of Organisations for Budgetary Transparency and Analysis) and Board member of Publish What You Pay...We urge you to remind the Nigerien authorities of their duty to respect fundamental freedoms and to demand that they drop all charges against the human rights defenders arrested on 25 March and 15 April, and to release them immediately without conditions. In addition, Nigerien authorities must be pressured to end their intimidation of dissenting voices, including through the use of judicial harassment. And they must restore a participatory environment, allowing civil society organisations to freely carry out legitimate activities in their pursuit of establishing human rights and promoting a transparent and responsible management of public finances to benefit the poorest populations.

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Article
27 March 2018

News: Africa Steering Committee of Publish What You Pay strongly condemns arrest of members in Niger

Author: Publish What You Pay (PWYP)

The Africa Steering Committee (ASC) of Publish What You Pay (PWYP) strongly condemns the arrest of Ali Idrissa, coordinator of PWYP Niger, Board member of PWYP and coordinator of the Niamey-based civil society organisation ROTAB on 25 March 2018, along with his colleagues Moussa Tchangari, the General Secretary of the Nigerien NGO Alternative Espace Citoyens, and Idrissa Mama, member of the Confederation Nigerienne des Travailleurs, a trade union affiliated to PWYP Niger. Ali Idrissa and his colleagues were placed under arrest on Tuesday morning and transferred to various prisons across the country. Ali Idrissa is being transferred to the Filingué prison, 180 km from Niamey. The arrests occurred in conjunction with an unauthorised demonstration against the finance law voted by the Nigerien Parliament in November 2017 to set the 2018 state budget. Clearly undermining citizens’ right to peaceful assembly, the Nigerien authorities had banned the peaceful march the day before. Until then, the authorities had been refusing to engage with civil society members, including Ali Idrissa, dismissing them as political opponents...Ali Idrissa and his colleagues have long advocated for more transparency in Niger’s uranium mining sector and for the respect of the rights of Nigerien citizens. Niger is the world’s fourth largest producer of uranium yet remains one of the poorest countries in the world. The detained civil society actors have also worked on protecting the principle of transparency of Niger’s natural resources which is enshrined in Niger’s 2010 Constitution. “For many years, Niger has been on a downward spiral in regards to its commitments to fundamental freedoms, and since it left the EITI in 2017 these commitments have rapidly eroded. We are deeply concerned about the deteriorating state of civic space faced by civil society organisations in Niger, witnessed by the continued arrests of independent voices in the country”, said Tiemoko Sangare, Chair of the PWYP Africa Steering Committee. We call on the Government of Niger to immediately release Ali Idrissa, Moussa Tchangri and Idrissa Mama, to reinstate Labari as an independent news outlet and to respect the freedoms of expression, assembly and association of civil society in Niger.

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