The 48Th session of the UN Human Rights Council
13 September – 8 October 2021
Adoption of the Universal Periodic Review of the Niger – Third cycle
Oral statement on behalf of the Meezaan Center for Human Rights
Delivered by: Louise REQUIN
Thank you President,
We congratulate the Niger on the creation of the national observatory for gender promotion and the National Gender Policy. We regret that the Niger has not repealed its reservations on CEDAW as recommended. We therefore further recommend Niger start considering the collective benefits of involving women as equal stakeholders in the economy.
Customary law in the Niger deeply affects the rights of women. Currently, customs regulate women’s access to property and inheritance. They are mostly unfavorable to women, preventing their access to inheritance or land rights. Allowing girls to inherit would also generate inter-generational wealth that is not dependable on marriage or male relatives, fostering autonomy and independence.
Meezaan Center and Geneva International Center for Justice recommend that bottom-up, vernacular, and inclusive processes of change be enacted. We encourage local-level campaigns of mediation. Programs should be led by Nigerien women themselves and focus on their agency, their demands, and their objectives.
Access to education is still very restricted and discriminatory. Infrastructural limitations prevent rural and semi-nomadic children from attending school. Covid-19 and the rise in terrorism has worsened access to education in the past year. Girls are specifically affected which is reflected by the low female literacy rate. School enrolment remains the best protection against child marriage and child labor.
Therefore, measures must be taken to ensure the availability of schools in all areas and for all children without discrimination as it is a crucial tool to ensure economic and social development.
I thank you