GENEVA/NIAMEY (10 December 2019) – On the eve of International Human Rights Day,* the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet and the Government of Niger yesterday formalized an agreement to open the first-ever UN Human Rights Office in the country.
The agreement was finalized after it was signed on 9 December in Niamey by Niger's Minister of Justice, Marou Amadou, following the earlier signature by High Commissioner Bachelet in Geneva on 28 November.
"This is a very welcome development," said Bachelet. "The opening of a UN Human Rights Office in the country shows Niger's commitment to further strengthen the promotion and protection of human rights. My office stands ready to support efforts led by the Government, national human rights institutions and civil society to improve the rights of all, especially vulnerable populations, including women, children and migrants."
The UN Human Rights Chief said her Office would provide support in four critical areas, as discussed and agreed with the Government:
- Supporting legal and institutional reform in order to bring domestic legislation in conformity with Niger´s international human rights obligations, and to develop strong institutions for the administration of justice and protection of human rights;
- Strengthening democratic and civic space, including through stronger participation of women and youth, and reinforcing the role of the National Commission for Human Rights as well as civil society organizations;
- Providing technical expertise to the Government to develop policies to provide for basic economic and social rights, combat discrimination, address the human rights dimension of climate change and migration, and enhance equality including through supporting the empowerment of women;
- Supporting Niger in the setting up of a human rights compliance framework for the Joint Force of the G5 Sahel.
The Joint Force was launched in 2017 by the leaders of five countries in the Sahel region -- Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger – with the endorsement of the African Union and the UN Security Council. It pools the five countries' resources in order to confront security threats, including terrorism, cross-border organized crime and human trafficking, as well as to support development across the region. The UN Human Rights Office's role, which will be strengthened by the establishment of a full office in Niger, has been to help the Joint Force ensure that it acts in full accordance with international human rights norms and standards.
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*The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was adopted on 10 December 1948 by the UN General Assembly at the Palais de Chaillot in Paris three years after the end of World War II. It was the product of 18 months' work by a drafting committee, with members and advisers from all across the world.