Niamey — Niger is hosting from March 14 to 18, a series of training sessions led by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). These sessions, which follow on from those that took place in Bamako, focus on the Liptako-Gourma region and brings together local and administrative authorities, military, civil society and humanitarian actors ; in order to improve coordination. It also aims to strengthen their capacity in addressing existing challenges and propose concrete solutions to the security concerns of the population, particularly the most vulnerable.
This series of workshops is part of the United Nations Joint Regional Program to support the implementation of cross-border activities in the Tri-border area. The Liptako-Gourma region, which includes Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, is experiencing an upsurge in insecurity due to the activism of non-state armed groups and violent extremism, with a persistence of organized cross-border crime. Given the regional dimension of the crisis, OCHA, together with OHCHR have decided to strengthen coordination on the ground in these countries to ensure effective information sharing and a common strategy to provide sustainable solutions to the crisis in the Central Sahel.
At the opening ceremony in Niger, the OHCHR representative, Mr. Omer Kebiwou KALAMEU, stressed that : "the complex and multidimensional nature of the crisis in the Sahel requires an integrated and coordinated holistic approach with the aim of finding a strategic synergy and operational complementarity between all actors for a sustainable impact on the ground. According to Mr. Kalameu, one of the priorities of this project includes the activities implemented by the OHCHR, focusing on conflict prevention and management, in addition to promoting access to justice, human rights and rule of law.
In the same perspective, Dr. Modibo Traoré, Head of the OCHA Niger country office, mentioned one of the consequences of this complex crisis, which has doubled the number of displaced persons in the Tri-border area and the Lake Chad Basin over the past three years. He also stressed the dire humanitarian situation in Niger, noting that : "According to the 2022 Humanitarian Needs Assessment, 3.7 million people or 17% of the population in Niger are in need of humanitarian assistance and trends indicate that the number of security-related protection incidents increased from 1,500 in 2019 to 3,500 in 2021."
Present alongside the representatives of UN agencies, Commander Salem Abdoulaye Dara, in charge of operations at the Army Headquarter of Niger Armed Forces, invited the defence and security forces participating in this training to invest fully during these sessions, in order to address ambiguities between actors, recalling that : "the security context in which security and humanitarian actors operate, as well as our respective missions, require us to interact permanently to achieve a common goal, namely to relieve our populations. According to the Commander, achieving this objective requires better coordination and knowledge of the humanitarian world by the military, while humanitarian actors also have to take security requirements into consideration within this context of terrorism.