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Niger: UN expert to assess right to protest and form associations

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GENEVA (2 December 2021) – The UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association, Clément Nyaletsossi Voule, will visit Niger from 6 December to 16 December 2021.

The Special Rapporteur, who is appointed by the Human Rights Council to monitor, report and advise on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association will focus on the facilitation and management of peaceful assemblies by law enforcement officials.

“With the democratic transition that was held in Niger earlier this year, one of the objectives of the mission will be to assess whether this has been followed by a continued opening of the civic space, and if the authorities are committed to ensure that the rights to freedom of assembly and of association are being respected,” Voule said. 

The UN expert will meet with political parties from both sides, the governing parties (majority) and the Opposition. 

“I will also assess issues including the legislative framework and procedural and practical measures for holding peaceful assemblies and protests in Niger, as well as developments concerning the situation of labour unions, the financing of political campaigns, and the situation of vulnerable groups in Niger,” he added.

The visit will be undertaken within the context of major security concerns in Niger due to attacks by armed groups. “This will also be an opportunity to assess the impact of counter-terrorism measures on the enjoyments on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association,” the Special Rapporteur said. 

During the 10-day visit, the Special Rapporteur will travel to Niamey and Zinder to hold meetings with Government officials, representatives of civil society, journalists, lawyers and bar associations, and trade unions. 

The expert’s recent report before the UN General Assembly on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association for the implementation of climate justice, also emphasized the importance of meeting climate activists, especially youth activists, women, and rural and indigenous communities.

He will present his preliminary observations during a press conference on 16 December at 4pm (local time); it will be held in a hotel in Niamey, of which specifics will be announced shortly. The press conference is only open to media professionals. 

A comprehensive mission report will be presented to the Human Rights Council during the 50th ordinary session in June 2022. 

ENDS

Mr. Clement Nyaletsossi Voule, from Togo, was appointed as United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to peaceful assembly and association in March 2018. He is a lawyer and currently works in Geneva in the field of human rights. He is an associate researcher at the Geneva Academy of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law. Prior to his appointment, he led the work of the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR). Mr. Voule also worked as Secretary General of the Togolese Coalition of Human Rights Defenders, as campaigning officer for the Coalition for the Togolese International Criminal Court and as Secretary General of the Amnesty International section in Togo. Since 2011, Mr. Voule has been an expert member of the Working Group on Extractive Industries, Environment and Human Rights Violations of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights.

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

UN Human Rights, Country Page - Niger

For more information and media requests please contact:

Support to the mandate: Ms. Raffaella Kely BRUNNER (+49 157 35736023 / raffaella.brunner@un.org) or ohchr-freeassembly@un.org  

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts please contact: Jeremy Laurence, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+41 22 917 9383 / jeremy.laurence@un.org)

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