Urgent Call for Restoring Human Rights in Niger Amid Coup Crisis

urgent call for restoring human rights in niger amid coup crisis

urgent call for restoring human rights in niger amid coup crisis

Last updated on September 20th, 2023 at 11:07 am

The self-declared National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland (CNSP) conducted a military coup in Niger on July 26, 2023, which shocked the country and caused grave concerns about protecting fundamental human rights. Human Rights Watch has encouraged the military forces behind the coup to prioritize restoring human rights and guarantee the safety and well-being of those being held, including former President Mohamed Bazoum, as the crisis develops. The international community is closely watching the issue, and Niger’s regional and international allies are urged to use their clout to stop abuses of fundamental rights.

On July 26, Major-Colonel Amadou Abdramane, speaking for the coup leaders, announced the dissolution of the constitution, suspension of all institutions, and closing the country’s borders in a televised address. The coup leaders attributed their actions to deteriorating security, bad economic governance, and social problems.

As military trucks were used to barricade the presidential residence and confine President Bazoum within effectively, tensions grew. Street demonstrations in support of Bazoum prompted the coup leaders’ soldiers to fire warning rounds in response. Hundreds of people gathered in front of the National Assembly to support the coup leaders and demand the assistance of Russia and the withdrawal of French troops from Niger as the crisis worsened.

Human rights groups, such as Human Rights Watch, have expressed grave concerns about possible abuses of fundamental human rights in the middle of the political unrest. President Bazoum’s whereabouts are still unknown, and concerns have been raised concerning his safety and treatment while being held. Therefore, the coup’s leaders must ensure he is handled fairly and legally.

All other detainees, including Interior Minister Hamadou Adamou Souley and anyone else seized during the coup, also demanded to restore their human rights. The rights of the detainees must be respected, and their safety must come first.

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During this crisis, Niger’s transition to democratic civilian leadership is crucial. The international community and Niger’s regional allies must keep a close eye on the situation and exert pressure on the military leaders to give a precise and expeditious schedule for the return to democratic rule. All Nigerians should be able to participate in democratic elections and share their opinions.

The Sahel and West Africa have recently seen several military coups; thus, the uprising in Niger is not an exceptional episode. The crises in the nearby countries of Burkina Faso and Mali, where military coups have also taken place, emphasise even more how crucial it is to defend democratic values and respect for human rights.

Rabia Djibo Magagi, a prominent human rights advocate in Nigeria, highlighted that the turmoil should not compromise the defense of everyone’s basic freedoms and rights. All individuals held in detention have their human rights upheld, and the military authorities must guarantee that these rights will be upheld throughout the crisis and beyond.

Volker Türk, the UN’s human rights chief, has demanded President Bazoum’s immediate and unconditional release and the provision of security for him. Additionally, the arbitrarily jailed government officials and their family members must to be freed immediately. The international community must put pressure on the military leaders in Niger to uphold human rights and hasten the establishment of a peaceful and democratic transition.

The Niger coup crisis has highlighted the urgent necessity to reestablish basic human rights and guarantee the safety and wellbeing of individuals in detention. Human Rights Watch and the international community have called on the military forces that carried out the coup to defend human rights, treat detainees with dignity and according to the law, and facilitate a speedy transition to democratic civilian administration. Collective efforts must be made to defend human rights in this crucial time since the future of Niger’s democracy and the welfare of its people are at stake.

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