According to the Republic of Niger's Constitution of 1999, most human rights, as defined by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, are upheld and protected. Despite these protections, concerns of both domestic and international human rights organizations have been raised over the behavior of the government, military, police forces, and over the continuation of traditional practices which contravene the 1999 constitution. Under French colonial rule (1900–1960) and from independence until 1992, citizens of Niger had few political rights, and lived under arbitrary government power. Although the situation has improved since the return to civilian rule, criticisms remain over the state of human rights in the country.
The Constitution of 18 July 1999, the founding document of the Nigerien Fifth Republic and the basis of its legal system, guarantees certain rights for every citizen of Niger. These include rights to equality before the law, due process, universal suffrage, freedom of speech, and freedom of religion.
The same prerogatives shall be accorded every citizen of Niger enjoying full civil and political rights and fulfilling the conditions of eligibility as provided for by the law.
Article 23:Each person shall have the right to freedom of thought, opinion, expression, conscience, religion, and worship. The state shall guarantee the free exercise of worship and expression of beliefs. These rights shall be applicable in regard to public order, social tranquility, and national unity.
The constitution also created an official Nigerien National Commission on Human Rights and Fundamental Liberties to investigate and report upon human rights abuses. Its members are elected from several human rights associations, legal bodies, and government offices. It has no power to arrest, but it may investigate abuses either on its own volition or when charged by a victim. It reports to the President of Niger.
In August 2008, the government established a Mediator of the Republic. The mediator's role is to solve difficulties in the implementation and interpretation of laws and regulations. The president appoints the mediator, who is an independent administrative authority charged with investigating citizens' complaints and trying to find amicable solutions. The mediator has no decision-making powers, however, and instead submits results of investigations to the president and the prime minister.
Niger is a signatory of a number of international human rights conventions, including the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights of 1986, for which it submits regular reports to the African Union's African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights.Niger is one of the States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
Niger has had four republican constitutions since independence in 1960, but four of its seven presidents have been military leaders, taking power in three coups. The first presidential elections took place in 1993 (33 years after independence), and the first municipal elections only took place in 2007. The 1999 constitution followed the coup against and murder of President Ibrahim Baré Maïnassara by fellow military leaders. Prior to the 1992 uprising that led to free elections, Nigeriens have had little say in their nation's governance. In 2004 Mamadou Tandja was elected to his second five-year presidential term in an election that international observers deemed generally free and fair.
While the 1999 constitution guarantees a right to free assembly, in practice the government places restrictions on political gatherings, especially at time of popular unrest. There have been three blanket states of emergency declared since 1999, the longest beginning in August 2007 for the entire Agadez Department, and renewed in November 2007. These states of emergency essentially remove all rights to protest, gathering and free movement. They also allow detention without charge or trial.
The involvement of the military in politics has historically led to regular, if infrequent, arbitrary arrest and detention, use of excessive force, torture, and extra-judicial killing by security forces and police. The judiciary has historically suffered from poor jail and prison conditions, prolonged pretrial detention, and executive interference in the judiciary. While all these have improved dramatically since the return to civilian rule, international human rights organizations continue to report sporadic incidents of all these abuses. Post-1999 there has been a marked improvement of civilian control of security forces, with the United States State Department contending every year since 2001 that the military was under civilian control.
The United States, in line with the United Nations and Amnesty International, has consistently found the post-1999 government's human rights record "generally poor; although there are improvements in several areas, some serious problems remain". With the 1999 election of President Tandja and members of the National Assembly in generally free and fair elections, citizens exercised their right to change their government. Since 2001, every year has seen less than a dozen prisoners die or go missing after having last been seen in the custody of military officers. Police and members of the security forces beat and otherwise abuse persons. Prior to the beginning of the Tuareg insurgency of 2007 the government has generally respected the right to association; however, several Islamist organizations that engaged in or threatened violence have been and remain banned. The government frequently restricts freedom of movement.
Domestic violence and societal discrimination against women continue to be serious problems. Female genital mutilation (FGM) persists, despite government efforts to combat it. There is societal discrimination against persons with disabilities and ethnic and religious minorities. Worker rights generally are respected; however, there are reports that a traditional form of servitude still is practiced. Child labor occurs, including child prostitution. There are reports of trafficking in persons.[ citation needed ]
Niger has had a tradition of lively press opposition, punctuated by bouts of government repression. From 1999 to 2007, the independent press, especially radio has flourished. With the advent of the Second Tuareg Rebellion in 2007, the government has begun to prosecute under emergency powers, those foreign and domestic press who are accused of contact with rebel leaders, and have expelled members of the foreign press from the country. The north, under a state of emergency, has become a go-go zone for foreign press, and the independent Radio Agadez in the north has been closed by the government.
Since literacy and personal incomes are both very low, radio is the most important medium of public communication. The government-owned Radio Voix du Sahel transmits 14 hours per day, providing news and other programs in French and several local languages. There are several private radio stations, including Radio France International, Africa Number One, Radio et Musique, Radio Souda, Radio Tenere, Radio Anfani, and Radio Tambara; the last five are owned locally and feature popular news programs in local languages, including Djerma and Hausa. These private radio stations generally are less critical of government actions than are the private newspapers. Radio Anfani and Radio et Musique presented news coverage that has included a variety of points of view. The other private domestic radio stations are smaller and offer little domestic news programming. The government-operated multilingual national radio service provides equitable broadcasting time for all legal political parties during the year.
The government publishes a French-language daily newspaper, Le Sahel , and its weekend edition. There are approximately 12 private French-language weekly or monthly newspapers, some of which are affiliated loosely with political parties. The private press remains relatively assertive in criticizing government actions, though since mid-2007, there have been a number of arrests of foreign and local journalist.[ citation needed ]
Two local journalists were imprisoned in 2007 under charge of aiding the Tuareg insurgency in the north, and several radio stations have been closed. The journalist Moussa Kaka was held over a year on charges stemming from a radio interview of Rebel leaders, before being provisionally released. Foreign journalist circulated and reported freely prior to mid-2007, but since have been restricted from reporting on or traveling to the north of the country (Agadez Region). Since this time radio re-broadcasts of foreign news services have been restricted, having previously been a staple of Nigerien news coverage.
While Moussa Kaka has received the longest imprisonment for a journalist since the beginning of the Tuareg based insurgency in February 2007, several other cases have come to the attention of the international media. French journalists Thomas Dandois and Pierre Creisson were detained in Agadez for a month in 2007 by Nigerien military forces before being released.The editor of the Niamey's L’Evénement weekly was arrested on 30 July 2008 and charged with "divulging a defence secret" after reporting that an army officer had been linked to an arms cache that was discovered in the capitol. The Government press regulation body, the High Council for Communication (CSC) closed Niamey based TV and radio station Dounia TV for one month in August 2008, and closed for an indefinite period Sahara FM, the main radio station in Agadez on 22 April 2008 for broadcasting interviews with people who had claimed they were the victims of abuses by government troops. In June 2007, Agadez weekly Aïr-Info was closed by the government for three months, while at the same time sending formal warnings to three other newspapers (Libération, L’Opinion and L’Evènement) for reporting on the conflict in the north, which the government said were "trying to justify criminal activity and violence." Aïr-Info editor Ibrahim Manzo Diallo, after attempting to open a new weekly paper, was arrested and released. One of his reporters was also arrested in Ingal in October, and in October Diallo was arrested trying to board a flight to Europe and charged with "membership of a criminal gang" Diallo was released pending trial in February 2008.
In 2009, Reporters Without Borders and the International Federation of Journalists accused the government of Niger of carrying out repeated harassment of Nigerien journalists, following three high-profile arrests and libel cases brought against newspapers by members of the governmentand the arrest of two officials of Dounia TV for comments made by others on their station. Dounia, the only non-governmental Nigerien Television News station, has been accused of giving air time to supporters Hama Amadou, an imprisoned ruling party rival of the President of Niger. RSF claimed that "The Dounia group is the victim of repeated harassment by the judicial authorities".
As of 2006, conditions in all 35 of the country's prisons were poor and life-threatening. Prisons were underfunded, understaffed, and overcrowded. For example, in Niamey's civil prison, there were approximately 720 prisoners in a facility built for 350; at year's end an estimated 550 of them were awaiting trial. Family visits were allowed, and prisoners could receive supplemental food, medicine, and other necessities from their families; however, nutrition, sanitation, and health conditions were poor, and deaths occurred from AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria.
Corruption among prison staff is rampant. Prisoners could bribe officials to leave prison for the day and serve their sentences in the evenings. Some prisoners bribed officials to serve their sentences in the national hospital in Niamey. Pretrial detainees were held with convicted prisoners.
Human rights observers, including the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Nigerien Commission on Human Rights and Fundamental Liberties, and various NGOs, were granted unrestricted access to prisons and detention centers and conducted visits during the year.
The armed forces, under the Defense Ministry, are responsible for internal and external security. The gendarmerie, also under the Defense Ministry, had primary responsibility for rural security. The national forces for intervention and security, under the Interior Ministry, are responsible for domestic security and the protection of high-level officials and government buildings, and the national police, also under the Interior Ministry, are charged with urban law enforcement.
The police are ineffective, primarily because of inadequate resources. Basic supplies such as vehicle fuel, radios, uniforms, handcuffs, batons, and badges are scarce. Patrols are sporadic, and emergency response time in Niamey can take 45 minutes. Police training is minimal, and only specialized police units had basic weapons-handling skills. Corruption remains pervasive. Citizens complain that security forces do not adequately police border regions. The gendarmerie is responsible for investigation of police abuse; however, impunity is often a problem.
The constitution provides for freedom of religion, and the government generally respects this right in practice. Nigerien society, although predominately Muslim, is respectful and tolerant of religious difference.
Islam is the dominant religion and the Niger Islamic Council, which acts as an official advisory committee to the government on religious matters, broadcasts biweekly on the government controlled television station. On government controlled media, Christian programs generally are broadcast only on special occasions, such as Christmas and Easter, although the independent media regularly broadcast such programs.
Foreign Christian missionaries, while generally viewed with suspicion, operate openly and unmolested. Most large cities, due to the legacy of French colonialism, contain Christian churches and small Christian communities. There is also a small community of the Baháʼí Faith in Niamey. Sharia law, though observed by more pious Nigeriens, is not enforced by government or community. Alcohol is sold openly and women, while generally dressing modestly, need not wear headscarves.
Religious organizations must register with the Interior Ministry. Registration is a formality, and there are no reports that the government refused to register a religious organization.
On February 10, 2006, the government established the Niger Islamic Council composed of 10 leaders drawn from Islamic associations including the Islamic Association of Niger and other NGOs, and 10 members from various government agencies. The Islamic Council advises the government on Islamic issues including preaching, mosque construction, payment of zakat, etc. The council's avowed goals are to "work toward promoting a culture of tolerance and social peace and encourage Nigeriens to participate in the country's economic, social, and cultural development." During the installation of the council, the prime minister said that the purpose of the council was in part "to address behaviors and practices inspired by foreign countries", a remark widely interpreted to mean Nigerian and Middle-Eastern-inspired theological change and mosque construction projects.
In October 2006, Niger announced that it would deport the Arabs living in the Diffa Region of eastern Niger to Chad.This population numbered about 150,000. While the government was rounding up Arabs in preparation for the deportation, two girls died, reportedly after fleeing government forces, and three women suffered miscarriages. Niger's government had eventually suspended a controversial decision to deport Arabs.
In Niger, where the practice of slavery was outlawed in 2003, a study has found that more than 800,000 people are still slaves, almost 8% of the population.Slavery dates back for centuries in Niger and was finally criminalised in 2003, after five years of lobbying by Anti-Slavery International and Nigerian human-rights group, Timidria.
Descent-based slavery, where generations of the same family are born into bondage, is traditionally practiced by at least four of Niger's eight ethnic groups. The slave holders are mostly from the lighter-skinned nomadic ethnic groups — Tuareg, Fula, Toubou and Arabs. –1905 was composed of slaves.In the region of Say on the right bank of the river Niger, it is estimated that three-quarters of the population around 1904
Prior to the 20th century, the Tuareg captured slaves during raids into other communities and in war. War was then the main source of supply of slaves, although many were bought at slave markets, run mostly by indigenous peoples.
The following chart shows Niger's ratings since 1972 in the Freedom in the World reports, published annually by Freedom House. A rating of 1 is "free"; 7, "not free".1
Niger's stances on international human rights treaties are as follows:
Niger or the Niger, officially the Republic of the Niger, is a landlocked country in West Africa named after the Niger River. Niger is bordered by Libya to the northeast, Chad to the east, Nigeria to the south, Benin and Burkina Faso to the southwest, Mali to the west, and Algeria to the northwest. Niger covers a land area of almost 1,270,000 km2 (490,000 sq mi), making it the largest country in West Africa. Over 80% of its land area lies in the Sahara Desert. The country's predominantly Muslim population of about 22 million live mostly in clusters in the far south and west of the country. The capital and largest city is Niamey, located in Niger's southwest corner.
Agadez, formerly spelled Agadès, is the fifth largest city in Niger, with a population of 110,497 based on the 2012 census. The capital of Agadez Region, it lies in the Sahara desert, and is also the capital of Aïr, one of the traditional Tuareg–Berber federations. The historic centre of the town has been designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Human rights in Kenya internationally maintain a variety of mixed opinions; specifically, political freedoms are highlighted as being poor and homosexuality remains a crime. In the Freedom of the World index for 2017, Kenya held a rating of '4' for civil liberties and political freedoms, in which a scale of "1" to "7" is practised.
According to the U.S. Department of State's annual report on human rights in Mali for 2003, Mali's government generally respects the human rights of its citizens and observes relevant constitutional provisions and prohibitions.
The U.S. Department of State's Country Report on Human Rights Practices for São Tomé and Príncipe states that the government generally respects the human rights of its citizens, despite problems in a few areas.
Human rights in Chad have been described as "poor"; for example, Freedom House has designated the country as "Not Free." Chad received a score of 7 for political rights and 6 for civil liberties.
Historically, Comoros has had a relatively poor human rights record. In early 1979, Comorian authorities arrested some 300 supporters of the Soilih's regime and imprisoned them without trial in Moroni. Four of Soilih's former ministers also disappeared. For the next two years, there were further arrests, shootings, and disappearances. Under pressure from France, some trials were held but many Comorians remained political prisoners, despite protests from Amnesty International and other humanitarian organizations. The Abdallah regime also restricted freedom of speech, press, association, citizens' rights to change their government, women's rights, and workers' rights. After Abdallah's death on November 27, 1989, the country's human rights record improved. The European mercenaries who ruled the island ordered only a few arrests and released nearly all political prisoners who had been detained after the 1985 and 1987 coup attempts.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Niger:
Mass media in Niger is a diverse collection of public and private entities, both print and broadcast, centered in the capital of Niamey, but with vibrant regional centers. The media has historically been state funded, and focused on radio broadcast media, as the nation's population is spread over great distances. Niamey boasts scores of newspapers and magazines, many of which are fiercely critical of the government. These papers though have very small circulations, and almost none outside the cities.
Human rights in Rwanda have been violated on a grand scale. The greatest violation is the Rwandan genocide of Tutsi in 1994. The post-genocide government is also responsible for grave violations of human rights.
Moussa Kaka is a Nigerien radio journalist and director of Maradi based station Saraounia FM, as well as a correspondent for France's Radio France International. He has twice been arrested by the government of President Mamadou Tandja over his reporting. He is at the center of a 2008 court case by the Nigerien government over his 2007 interviews of Movement of Nigeriens for Justice (MNJ) rebels.
Dounia TV is a private press organisation based in the Nigerien capital of Niamey. It broadcasts news and entertainment programing in the Niamey area with repeaters in several provinces. One of the few private broadcasters in Niger, it is the only Nigerien produced television news source outside of the government operated Tele-Sahel. Dounia first broadcast on 26 February 2007 on 89 MHz (radio) and 527.25 MHz (television). Its director and founder is Abibou Garba.
The Republic of Congo gained independence from French Equatorial Africa in 1960. It was a one-party Marxist-Leninist state from 1969 to 1991. Multi-party elections have been held since 1992, although a democratically elected government was ousted in the 1997 civil war and President Denis Sassou Nguesso has ruled for 26 of the past 36 years. The political stability and development of hydrocarbon production made the Republic of the Congo the fourth largest oil producer in the Gulf of Guinea region, providing the country with relative prosperity despite instability in some areas and unequal distribution of oil revenue nationwide.
The Congolese Human Right Observatory claims a number of unresolved and pending issues in the country.
Discrimination against Pygmies is widespread, the result of cultural biases, especially traditional relationships with the Bantu, as well as more contemporary forms of exploitation.
Human rights in Botswana are protected under the constitution. The 2009 Human Rights Report by the United States Department of State noted that in general the government of Botswana has respected the rights of its citizens.
Human rights in Cape Verde are addressed under the national constitution.
Human rights in Burkina Faso are addressed in the constitution. The 2009 Human Rights Report by the United States Department of State noted concerns regarding restrictions on the press and the operation of the judiciary system.
Human rights are "rights and freedoms to which all humans are entitled". Proponents of the concept usually assert that everyone is endowed with certain entitlements merely by reason of being human.
The issue of human rights in Djibouti, a small country situated within the Horn of Africa, is a matter of concern for several human rights organizations.
Equatorial Guinea is known for human rights abuses. Under the current government it has "limited ability of citizens to change their government; increased reports of unlawful killings by security forces; government-sanctioned kidnappings; systematic torture of prisoners and detainees by security forces; life threatening conditions in prisons and detention facilities; impunity; arbitrary arrest and detention and incommunicado detention; harassment and deportation of foreign residents with limited due process; judicial corruption and lack of due process; restrictions on the right to privacy; restrictions on freedom of speech and of the press; restrictions on the rights of assembly, association, and movement; government corruption; violence and discrimination against women; suspected trafficking in persons; discrimination against ethnic minorities; and restrictions on labor rights."
Human rights in Lesotho, a nation of 2,067,000 people completely surrounded by South Africa, is a contentious issue. In its 2012 Freedom in the World report, Freedom House declared the country "Partly Free". According to the United States Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, which produces annual human rights reports on the country, the most pressing human rights issues are the use of torture, poor prison conditions, and the abuse of women and children.As well as government oppression