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African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights

Press Release on the Arrest and Detention of Ali Idrissa and Ten Other Human Rights Defenders in Niger

The Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders in Africa, Commissioner ReineAlapini-Gansou, is deeply concerned about the recent situation of human rights defenders in Niger, in particular the arrest of Mr Ali Idrissa, National Coordinator of Réseau des Organisations pour la Transparence et l'AnalyseBudgétaire (ROTAB), and ten other human rights defenders on 18 July 2014 in Niamey.


Mr Ali Idrissa is a Board Member of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). He was arrested around 4 a.m. on 18 July 2014, a day after he gave a press conference expressing his views about the contract signed between the Government of Niger and a French uranium mining company.


The Special Rapporteur also condemns the arrest, on the same day, of members of Sauvez le Niger, Groupe de Réflexionetd'Actionsur les Industries Extractives au Niger (GREN), Mouvement pour la Promotion de la CitoyennetéResponsable (MPCR),andROTAB. The members of these organisations were arrested at their homes and during a peaceful demonstration authorised by the local authorities in Niamey.


The Special Rapporteur considers their arrest, detention and any other legal action as an attempt to silence legitimate criticisms and to limit the activities of human rights defenders; and hopes that the situation will not affect the progress made in the area of human rights in Niger.


The Special Rapporteur wishes to underscore the important role played by human rights defenders in Africa and calls on the authorities of Niger to comply with the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, the Kigali Declaration and the Grand Bay Declaration.


The Special Rapporteur wishes to remind the Government of Niger of its obligations under the relevant regional and international instruments, in particular the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Articles 6, 9 and 11), and the various resolutions of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights; and encourages the authorities of Niger to continue to promote and protect hum an rights defenders in the country. 


Banjul, 11August2014



Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders in Africa