Government of Niger Commits to Promote Freedom of Expression and Combat Impunity

On January 18, 2016, Niger underwent its second Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the UN Human Rights Council. The UPR is a process through which UN Member States make recommendations to the state under review to improve its human rights situation.

Before Niger’s review, the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) made a stakeholder submission highlighting free expression and press freedom concerns on Niger and urged states to make recommendations for Niger to improve on its press freedom and freedom of expression situation. In our submission, the MFWA highlighted attacks and excessive fines that inhibit freedom of expression and violations of the right of assembly by the police.

During its UPR, Niger received and accepted many recommendations to improve the enjoyment of free expression rights and end impunity for crimes by state actors.

The MFWA urges Niger to implement the following recommendations it accepted from the UPR:

119.126. Ensure that members of the security forces who are responsible of violations of human rights are prosecuted (by France).

119.128. Take steps to open prompt, impartial, thorough and effective investigations into alleged violations of international human rights law committed by law enforcement agencies in order to bring all the perpetrators to justice (by Ghana).

119.134. Respect and fully guarantee the rights to freedom of expression, freedom of association and freedom of assembly, in particular in the context of measures undertaken to respond to violent extremism and terrorism (by Switzerland).

119.135. Ensures full respect for the right to freedom of expression and media freedom by preventing all harassment and unduly detention of journalists and civil society activists (by the UK).

119.136. Respect freedoms of expression and association, both online and offline, particularly leading up to this year’s elections, and release political detainees (by the USA).

119.137. Protect human rights defenders and ensure that they are able to carry out their work free from harassment and intimidation (by Germany).

119.138. Take steps to halt all intimidations and harassment by law enforcement officials against human rights defenders (by Ghana).

119.139. Take firm measures to ensure that human rights defenders and peaceful activists are free to enjoy their fundamental rights of, inter alia, freedom of expression and freedom of association (by Norway).

The MFWA’s stakeholder submission to Niger’s UPR is available here. The Draft Report of the Working Group on Niger’s UPR, including UN Member States’ recommendations, is available here.

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