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Advance questions and statement to Niger

Advance questions:

  1. Norway welcomes the approval of Niger’s anti-trafficking law in 2015. Yet, reports indicate difficulties in its implementation. What measures does the government of Niger plan to ensure effective enforcement of the anti-trafficking law?
  2. What measures will the government take to ensure a safe environment for human rights activists and safeguard the freedom of expression, given the reports on arrests of activists in of 2015?
  3. Could the government of Niger elaborate on the measures taken to ensure the rights of women and the implementation of existing legal frameworks?
  4. Is the Government of Niger considering to establish a de jure moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty and to formally commute all death sentences?

Statement:

Norway recognizes the challenges of widespread poverty in Niger. We commend the Government’s efforts to enhance access to education and food security. Continued sustainable development is crucial for the further protection of human rights.

The anti-trafficking law of 2015 is an important step towards enhanced protection and control of irregular migration. We recommend that Niger conduct a nationwide study on the prevalence of slavery and slavery-like practices in cooperation with national and international stakeholders.

We acknowledge the great hospitality Niger has shown towards refugees from neighbouring countries and stand in solidarity with the Nigerien government in condemning the continuous attacks on innocent civilians in the Diffa region. However, we would underline Niger’s responsibility to uphold fundamental human rights, also during a state of emergency. We note with concern reports on the arrest of activists and human rights defenders.

We recommend that Niger take firm mearsures to ensure that human rights defenders and peaceful activists are free to enjoy their fundamental rights of inter alia freedom of expression and freedom of association. These freedoms are especially important to achieve free, fair and transparent presidential and parliamentary elections. We encourage continued dialogue between political actors in Niger. Furthermore, we recommend Niger to lift its reservations to CEDAW and ratify the Maputo Protocol to ensure women’s rights.

Finally, Norway gives high priority to the fight against the death penalty. We recommend that Niger ratifies the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR aiming at the abolition of the death penalty.