The UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, Kyung-wha Kang, ended a six day mission to Chad and Niger where she discussed a wide range of human rights issues with the Presidents, senior government authorities, parliamentary leaders, civil society representatives, and UN partners in both countries.
The Deputy High Commissioner also participated in the launch of two workshops to develop National Human Rights Action Plans for Chad and Niger based on the recommendations of the Universal Periodic Review of the Human Rights Council (UPR).
During her mission to Chad from 1-3 April 2012, Kang recognized the Government’s efforts to implement the main recommendations of the National Commission of Inquiry which investigated the January-February 2008 events in N’Djamena where gross human rights abuses were committed, and called for steps to ensure accountability for the violations.
“The majority of those who perpetrated gross human rights violations have not been brought to justice,” Kang said. “The lack of capacity, under-resourcing and the issue of the independence of the judiciary remain a concern. I encourage the Government to increase its efforts towards reforming the judiciary with a view to ending impunity.”
She also raised the issue of forced evictions that has affected thousands of families, and urged the authorities to integrated human rights standards into land development projects.
While recognizing the important steps taken to harmonize its national legislation with international human rights law, she called on Chad to consider ratifying a number of human rights treaties and issuing a standing invitation to UN Special Procedures mandate holders.
While in Niger from 4-6 April, the Deputy High Commissioner brought the issues of harmful traditional practices and discrimination against women and girls and trafficking to the forefront.
Kang noted that legal provisions and regulations that discriminate against women persisted in Nigerien law and urged the Government to review its customary and modern legislation in order to repeal these provisions. She added that she was confident Niger would make progress towards removing its reservations to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.
“I also encountered considerable concern that Niger was both a country of origin and destination for trafficking in children. Boys are forced into manual labour, while girls are submitted to domestic servitude or prostitution,” the Deputy Human Rights Chief said. “No child should ever have to endure forced labour or sexual exploitation and I welcome the enactment by the Government of a law against trafficking. The enforcement of this law would furthermore guarantee protection for children and punishment for perpetrators of human trafficking.”
Kang also highlighted the work of the Ministry of Justice in its fight against corruption.
“Corruption undermines human rights protection and promotion as it poisons the Rule of law, transparency in governance, and the responsible allocation of State resources. I strongly support the anti-corruption initiative of the Government, and I hope it can set a model for many other countries that are also faced with decades of corrupt governance,” she said.
In both countries, the Deputy High Commissioner assured partners that the UN Human Rights Office stood ready to assist in strengthening human rights protection and promotion.
12 April 2012