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Wednesday, 04 March 2020

New publication \ Country report Niger

The current “Country Report Niger” by the Peace and Conflict Research institute BICC gives an overview over basic data on the military sector and investigates the position of the country in relation to criteria of the EU Common Position on arms exports.

Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world. Islamist militias, among them Boko Haram and splinter groups of Al-Qaeda and the so-called Islamic State, terrorise the country. In the course of its so-called Enable and Enhance Initiative, the German federal government increased its arms exports to Niger in 2018 to enable it like other countries in the region to deal with internal and regional crises.

In its Country Report (in German), BICC assesses the security situation in Niger to be extremely worrying. The country is a safe haven for many supporters of the Jihadist Boko Haram and other Islamist groups with connections to Islamic State At the same time, the trafficking of weapons in the region and the border to Libya is flourishing. In the west of the country, again, aggravating inter-community and territorial disputes between local communities prevail. Pointing to the third EU criterion on arms exports “internal situation in the recipient country”, the Country Report notes that in the fight against armed groups, the government relies primarily on military conflict resolution, with which it has fanned rather than curbed violent clashes. A political approach, which fosters the dialogue between communities and responds to local needs is missing. Such a policy must be geared in the long term to reducing the proliferation of weapons within society and to contributing to the reconciliation of conflict parties.

The Country Report describes the current human rights situation (EU criterion two), too, as very problematic. Freedom of assembly and freedom of speech are clearly restricted. Human trafficking, slavery, child labour and violence against women remain a large problem, too. There is also an alarming situation for refugees and migrants who cross the River Niger towards North Africa and, in doing so, become victims of illegal detention by the police. In the name of the military fight against cross-border extremism and terrorism in the region, in which soldiers from Niger are involved as well, serious human rights violations occur time and again.

In addition to the Country Report Niger, BICC (Bonn International Center for Conversion) provides a further 39 reports on recipient countries of German arms exports (in German) on its website www.ruestungsexport.info. With a better availability of information, a well-founded assessment of German arms exports is to be facilitated. The project is financially supported by Germany's Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

Country Report Niger (in German)

Press release “Neue Publikation \ Länderbericht Niger“ (in German)