The pilot study on "Migration and Respect for Human Rights: Focus on the Responses Provided by Niger" was adopted by the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights at its 26th Special Session held from 16 to 30 July 2019 in Banjul, The Gambia.
This study was conducted under Article 45 (1) (a) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, which, inter alia, authorizes the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (the Commission) to "undertake studies and research on African problems in the field of human and peoples' rights". This study primarily seeks to demonstrate that it is not migration, a natural phenomenon, a manifestation of freedom of movement recognized by international human rights law, that is problematic; rather, it is the serious violations of human dignity faced by migrants during their journey and identified by the Commission, which are of concern to us. Migrants, whether regular or not, continue to enjoy their human dignity and are entitled to be treated as such.
Over its years of operation, the Commission has been involved in the protection of migrants' rights through various actions, including the adoption of several resolutions and declarations, organization and participation in training and awareness-raising workshops. To further promote respect for migrants' rights, the Commission decided in 2018, through the adoption of Resolution 404 on the need to undertake a study on human rights violations against migrants - ACHPR/Res. 404 (LXII) 2018, to conduct a series of studies on migration and human rights compliance. These studies will provide all stakeholders with a good knowledge of the realities on the ground so as to adopt policies, decisions and undertake actions more focused on respect for migrants' rights.
In accordance with Resolution 404, these studies will be carried out gradually. The limited resources and the need to undertake in-depth studies require the Commission to confine its scope to a few countries in the different regions of Africa whose profiles provide more content to be examined. The objective is therefore not to put any particular country in the dock but, taking the example of certain countries, to enlighten all stakeholders about the human rights situation of migrants, to identify areas for reflection and recommendations to be considered and implemented. This pilot study, which focuses on the case of Niger, is the first in a series of studies that the Commission hopes to undertake with the support and assistance of partners.
This pilot study, which is the outcome of a quantitative and qualitative survey, looks at the human rights situation of migrants in Niger, which is considered as both a country of departure and a transit country for migrants. In addition to the issue of human rights violations and responsibilities in this regard, the study analyses the regulatory, institutional and strategic framework that has been put in place to respect the rights of migrants in Niger. Even if migrants' countries of temporary residence (notably Algeria and Libya) could not be visited due to inadequate means, the study does not overshadow the migrants' accounts of their experiences in these countries. The pilot study also has the particularity of emphasizing the responsibilities of the Internal Security Forces and the Defence and Security Forces in 8 protecting the rights of migrants. Following the analysis of the data and facts, the study identifies avenues for reflection and proposes recommendations to be considered by all stakeholders intervening in the field of migration.
This document, which the Commission provides to stakeholders involved in the promotion and protection of human rights, complements other studies on migration, most of which do not however focus on the fundamental rights of migrants. Even though the study highlights the example of Niger, the information collected can be useful for many other States, since some of the elements relating to the context and challenges are often common. States, National Human Rights Institutions and all human rights defenders are urged to use it to better protect the rights of migrants. The protection of migrants' rights is "Our common responsibility", so the study will only achieve the expected outcomes if it is widely disseminated and used by all stakeholders involved in the defense of human rights.
We would like to seize this opportunity to thank our fellow commissioners for their contribution to the improvement of the study and to the Secretariat of the Commission for its assistance.
Our recognition and gratitude also go to stakeholders who provided their technical support. We would particularly like to thank the Danish Institute of Human Rights (DIHR), a longstanding partner of the Commission whose active involvement and its personnel’s technical support in the conduct of this study were decisive. Our gratitude also go to all State and non-State actors of Niger who made a significant contribution by sharing their experience during the national consultations for the preparation of the study as well as those who agreed to respond to the questionnaires and provide information within the framework of this study. We also thank the consultants Koné/Tapsoba Josiane Somdata and Mossi Boureima whose technical involvement throughout the process made it possible to effectively complete the study. We would like to express gratitude to Dr. Stéphanie Lagoutte (Researcher at DIHR), for her advice on the research methodology.
We look forward to the continued support of our partners to undertake future studies, with the conviction that this pilot study and those that will follow constitute key tools for migration management based on the realities of the field and, especially, based on human rights.
Maya Sahli Fadel
Special Rapporteur on Refugees, AsylumSeekers, Migrants and Internally-Displaced Persons
Maria Teresa Manuela
Special Rapporteur on prisons, conditions of detention and police action in Africa