OHCHR in Niger
The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) signed on 9 December 2019 a Host Country Agreement establishing a Country Office with a full-fledged monitoring, reporting and capacity building mandate. The presence of OHCHR in Niger provides a tremendous opportunity to consolidate past achievements in the area of human rights and support Niger's commitment to further strengthen the promotion and protection of human rights.
|Type of engagement||Human Rights Adviser|
|Number of staff||22|
|Annual budget needs||?|
With the progressive establishment of this country office, and consistent with the global mandate and expertise of OHCHR, the overall OHCHR Sahel Strategy and the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel (UNISS), as well as the UNSDCF, OHCHR Niger focuses on the five following priorities:
- Early warning, prevention and protection of human rights in situations of conflict and insecurity;
- Strengthening the rule of law and accountability;
- Promotion and protection of economic and social rights, gender equality and non-discrimination for a sustainable development;
- Protection and enhancement of the civic and democratic space, including through the protection of human rights defenders, freedom of assembly, association and expression;
- Promotion and implementation of the international human rights mechanisms’ outcomes (UN Treaty bodies; Universal Periodic Review and special procedures);
Since 2008, OHCHR has provided support to Niger that led to substantial progress in the field of human rights such as the establishment of a functional Inter-ministerial Committee for Reporting to Treaty Bodies and the Universal Periodic Review,1 an independent National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) with a status A, since May 2017,2 and a National Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture implemented by the NHRC, alongside the harmonization of its penal code by the insertion of offences relating to enforced disappearances, and torture and other inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
OHCHR also contributed to the adoption of the law on the rights and duties of human rights defenders, and supported the revision of the national legal framework to ensure better compliance with international legal instruments ratified by Niger, as well as to the mainstreaming of human rights in policies and strategic documents elaborated by the Government of Niger and in programmes of the UN Country Team in Niger.
OHCHR activities also contributed to integrating a human rights dimension in the electoral processes of 2011, 2016, 2020 and 2021. On these different elections, the monitoring and reporting work carried out allowed OHCHR to be in a position to provide regular updates on the human rights situation during the electoral period as part of the UN strategy to prevent violence and ensure early warning during election periods. OHCHR also trained defence and security forces on the respect human rights in securing elections, civil society actors and the NHRC on human rights monitoring and reporting during elections.
Since 2020, with the support of OHCHR, a network of women human rights defenders was established. Members of this network who were trained by OHCHR actively contributed to human rights monitoring and reporting activities during the 2020 and 2021 elections, particularly in the regions.
Since the opening of the office in August 2020, the OHCHR country office in Niger has produced quarterly thematic newsletters automatically distributed to all partners. The newsletters are an impactful human rights advocacy and dissemination instrument, and a strong visibility tool. It allows partners and donors to have an overview of the office's activities enabling them to define and build possible synergies.
Through the creation and operationalization of bilateral Human Rights Working Groups with state institutions as the General Direction of the National police, the Human Rights National Commission, the Nigerien National Guard, the Minister of Justice, but also with CSOs partners and the Diplomatic Corps, OHCHR has increased its capacity to promote a HRBA in national programs, trainings and strategic plans.
As part of its advisory role, OHCHR has played a central role in the implementation processes of key thematic and strategic global UN issues, in particular the HRDDP, the POC, the United Nations Network for Migration and the Humanitarian Response Plan.
As part of the promotion aspect of its mandate, the OHCHR country office in Niger has supported - by the donation of high quality documentation on Human Rights issues in particular - the creation of Human Rights resources wings within key rule of law, Human Rights, democratic institutions as well as CSOs and the Academia. It has also reinforced its own library. Human Rights resources wings contributed to enhancing the capacity of national actors in promoting and protecting human rights.
Visits of Special Rapporteurs coupled with the recent visit of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has contributed to mobilizing international and national attention on pressing Human Rights issues in Niger. It has also fostered a constructive dialogue with the highest governmental authorities on a strategical plan of action for Niger to respect its international commitments in terms of Human Rights.
In the framework of OHCHR’s support to the G5 Sahel Joint Force towards its HR/IHL compliance framework, project staff based in Niger have carried out several monitoring and investigation missions in the G5 Sahel Joint force areas of operation (Tillabéry, Téra, Bankilaré, Kolman Dolbel and Wanzarbé), and interacted with community leaders, CSOs and the joint force battalions’ commandment and raised awareness about human rights, IHL and protection of civilians issues. The Project team also organized several training sessions on human rights, IHL, and protection of civilians for the benefit of officers and soldiers of Niger’s defence and security forces deployed to the joint force, the Joint Force Prevost units, the NHRC and CSOs representing at least 1060 participants including 1008 men and 52 women.
Since 2021, OHCHR has been implementing a project (ISF Project) to ensure that internal security forces in Chad, Mauritania and Niger comply with international human rights and humanitarian standards and that human rights violations committed during law enforcement operations are either successfully prevented or investigated, addressed and publicly reported on. In the framework of this project and during 2021, OHCHR in Niger has trained and/or sensitized more than 363 ISF elements and members of civil society organizations, including 73 women. These activities aimed at enhancing the understanding of international human rights norms and standards during law enforcements operations, including during crowd management.
Through the PROMIS project, national capacities have been enhanced to protect and assist migrants and increase their access to justice, challenges related to the human rights of migrants are better known and the population has been sensitized on migrants’ rights.
Through the CLIMIS project, the human rights protection gaps in the context of migration resulting from the adverse effects of climate change have been identified, in order to promote a human rights-based and gender-sensitive approach to the migration challenges posed by the consequences of climate change. As well, adaptation and mitigation measures were proposed to fill the protection gaps identified.
Within the framework of the "Joint Regional Support Programme for the Implementation of Cross-Border Cooperation Activities in the Liptako-Gourma Region," OHCHR supported activities contributing to the prevention and resolution of conflict, violent extremism and crime; and the promotion of access to justice, human rights and the rule of law. Since then, many efforts have been made by Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali in this area to promote and protect human rights, with particular emphasis on information, awareness raising and training for all local actors (administrative and elected authorities, CSOs, the population).
1/ The Inter-Ministerial Committee is entrusted with drafting reports to be submitted to human rights mechanisms and follow-up on their recommendations.
2/ The A status accreditation of the NHRC in Niger shows that it has demonstrated full compliance with the Paris Principles.
Partners and Donors
Partners: The Government of Niger, the Interdepartmental Committee in charge of drafting reports for treaty bodies and the UPR Working Group, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), civil society organizations, UN agencies, international and regional organizations.
Donors: Norway, European Union, Netherlands and Italy (PROMIS), Denmark (CLIMIS)
UN Human Rights Focus Areas
- Mechanisms: Increasing implementation of the international human rights mechanisms outcomes;
- Peace and Security: Early warning, prevention & protection of human rights in situations of conflict & insecurity;
- Accountability: Strengthening rule of law and accountability for human rights violations;
- Non-discrimination: Enhancing equality and countering discrimination.
- Global constituency
- Civic space
- People on the move
- Young people
- Persons with disabilities
Last reviewed: June 2022