Niger Niger: Mission Working Group Indigenous Populations / Communities, 2006

Dates:14 - 24 February 2006
Session:40th Ordinary Session
15 - 29 November 2006. Banjul, Gambia
Special Mechanism:Working Group on Indigenous Populations/Communities in Africa
Commissioner: Kamel Rezag-Bara

The general aim of the mission to Niger was to execute the mandate of the WGIP and of the African Commission. The specific objectives of the mission were to:
  • gather information on the situation of indigenopus populations in Niger within the scope of their civil and socio economic enjoyment of their rights
  • engage the government of the Republic of Niger in dialogue on the situation of indigenous populations in particular and its relationship with the African Commission as a whole;
  • engage civil society on its role in the promotion and protection of the rights of indigenous populations in Niger; and
  • visit and discuss with indigenous communities to understand the problems, if any, affecting the effective enjoyment of their human rights.
Recommendations

The Government should take action to ensure a process by which the on-going land alienation process of the pastoralists is addressed.
  1. The apparent contradictions in the provisions of the Rural Code and the Water Code should be addressed to ensure a coherent approach to the land and water problems of pastoralists.
  2. The Government should set up a fund to help the nomadic population in the country to counter the effects of the poor climate and drought that results each year in the decline of their flocks.
  3. The Government should consult indigenous nomadic populations on their wishes for their future development, and seek to support them in developing their livelihoods accordingly. If the nomadic population expresses a wish to diversify their activities, for instance by agriculture, then the Government should train these populations in this and provide them with tools and other implements such as seeds, fertilizers, ploughs, etc.
  4. Government should also encourage income-generating activities for women, in particular small trade and craft industry.
  5. The Government should reassess its policy of denying the existence of indigenous populations and take steps to comply with its international obligations regarding the treatment of indigenous peoples. To this end, the Government should also ratify the ILO Convention 169 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples.
  6. The Government is encouraged to establish sensitization programmes for the administration, local authorities, judges, police etc. in order to make them more sensitive to indigenous peoples’ rights.
  7. The Government should intensify its campaign of mobile schools to increase the literacy rate among nomadic populations and introduce incentives such as school meals, tuition free education, mother tongue education and no uniforms.
  8. The Government should establish mobile clinics among the nomadic populations in order to ensure adequate access to health facilities.
  9. The Government should adopt a participatory approach when developing policies with a bearing on indigenous populations, such as the Rural Code and the Water Code which promote the Government’s policies on land, natural resources, and poverty alleviation. The indigenous populations must be properly consulted in order for them to have a say on policies that will affect their lifestyle.
  10. The African Commission recommends that Niger indicates in its next Periodic Report to it, the measures it has taken to implement the above recommendations, and any difficulties it might be facing in implementing them.


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