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severe inventory of Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

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The former President of Chile, Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, ended her three-day visit to Niger on Saturday. Several meetings with the country’s officials were on his agenda; she also had interviews with civil society actors working on issues related to human rights or women’s rights. She also met high-level officers of the G5 Sahel joint forces.

With our correspondent in Niamey, Moussa Kaka

In her press conference, Michelle Bachelet painted a gloomy picture of the situation in Niger, with challenges on many fronts. A country ranked last in the world, according to the United Nations Human Development Index. More than ten million people live in extreme poverty and 3.8 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, since 2015 there has been a serious deterioration in the security and humanitarian situation, due to the infiltration into Niger of non-state armed groups and other violent actors from the neighboring countries. According to her, these armed groups have engaged in summary abuses, extortion, kidnappings and looting.

Trust between the security forces and the population is essential. The military must remain the greatest protectors for human rights, she stressed. Michelle Bachelet expressed concern that investigations into massacres d’Inates appear to be at rest. In 2020, six mass graves containing 71 bodies, victims of summary abuses were discovered. In its September 2020 report, the CNDH (Niger National Human Rights Commission) implicated “uncontrolled” soldiers in these killings. Michelle Bachelet urges the Nigerien government to speed up investigations.

Inates, in western Niger RFI

Finally, concerning self-defense groups, Michelle Bachelet urges the Nigerien government to take measures to discourage their formation, in particular by strengthening the presence of the state in the north of the country, the regions of Tillabéri -where more than 60 villagers were murdered at the beginning of November in an attack- and Tahoua.

Read also : in Niger, around 20 civilians killed in an attack in the west of the country

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