CISLAC condemns arrest, intimidation of peaceful protesters in Niger Republic

Calls for release of human rights activist, Abdoulabo, protesters

By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja

The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, CISLAC, Monday, condemned the arrest and intimidation of protesters in Niger Republic after her general elections in March 2021.

This was contained in a statement signed by the Executive Director, CISLAC, Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, where it decried alleged attacks as undemocratic clampdown, unchecked impunity, and dictatorial moves by authorities in “Niger Republic to suppress citizens’ fundamental rights and freedom through secretive arbitrary arrests and unlawful detention of peaceful protesters, human right activists.”

The statement reads in part, “The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) is seriously concerned by the growing undemocratic clampdown, unchecked impunity and dictatorial moves by authorities in the Niger Republic to suppress citizens’ fundamental rights and freedom through secretive arbitrary arrests and unlawful detention of peaceful protesters, human right activists.

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“We are disappointed that the authorities positioned basically to protect the citizens autocratically embark on an unlawful mission to arbitrarily arrest and imprison them without an iota of respect for their civic rights, even when such are guaranteed under Articles 11, 12, 13 of Republic of Niger’s Constitution of 2010.

“We are also perturbed by the normalised impunity and unwary extent of Constitutional violations of especially Articles 14, 15 and 18 with definite provisions that “No one shall be submitted to torture, to slavery or to cruel, inhuman or degrading abuse or treatments”, “No one is required to execute a manifestly illegal order”, and “No one may be arrested or charged except by virtue of a law that entered into force prior to the acts alleged against him”, respectively.

“We are more worried by extra-judicial activities of the authorities to arrest and illegally imprison peaceful protesters including Hajia Haoua Abdoulabo, who was arrested and held by the police for 72 hours and illegally transferred to Civil Prison of Niamey on depositary mandate since 15th March 2021; for her participation in a peaceful protest held against the reported irregularities that marked Presidential elections in February 2021.

“While we monitor with keen interest, the development in Republic of Niger including the death of two individuals, seven electoral officials, mass arrests and illegal restriction of access to the internet that dominated the recently concluded elections, we without hesitation reiterate that arbitrary arrests and unlawful detentions of citizens who exercise their fundamental rights and freedom through peaceful protest constitute a major violation of the Republic of Niger’s Constitution of 2010 as well as Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations General Assembly that enshrines the rights and freedoms of all human beings.

“On this uncivil political development, we condemn in totality deliberate violation of Constitutional provisions and disregard for the fundamental rights of citizens as nationally, regionally, and internationally guaranteed.

“We, therefore, demand the immediate release of Hajia Haoua Abdoulabo and other illegally detained protesters by authorities in the Republic of Niger.”

The statement also called on the international community to intervene in the political situation in the Niger Republic by prevailing on authorities carrying out arrests and attacks on activists.

“We call on the regional, continental and international communities to strengthen surveillance on the democracy system, human rights, women rights and citizens’ freedom as official activities unfold in the country; sanction the deliberate violation of these rights and freedom, and hold erring authorities accountable”, the statement concluded.

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