In 2020, ABA ROLI initiated the Niger Human Rights and Access to Justice Activity. This USAID-supported project is implemented as part of the Human Rights Support Mechanism, in consortium with Freedom House and Search for Common Ground (Search). Together, the consortium members employ a variety of approaches to reduce vulnerability to violent extremism and promote human rights.
Niger has experienced violent extremist spillover from Mali and Nigeria, particularly in the regions of Diffa, Tillaberi, and Tahoua. In these areas, non-state armed groups have perpetrated violence and indiscriminately killed civilians, stolen livestock and crops, and caused massive displacement. The Niger state substantially lacks presence in these regions and has responded to violence through security force actions. The responses have violated the rights of local residents, and have served to exacerbate tensions, while also failing to resolve security challenges. Increasing violent extremism and related conflicts have also resulted in human rights abuses, with little to no accountability or redress for victims.
To address this, the Niger Human Rights and Access to Justice Activity engages partners at multiple levels, ranging from the government of Niger to local communities. ABA ROLI aims to assist populations as they navigate justice pathways, and, when appropriate, to use state justice systems. In collaboration with Search, ABA ROLI will strengthen the role of Traditional Chiefs and other local mediators to settle disputes, including conflicts over land and natural resources. Additionally, ABA ROLI will strengthen the state justice institutions to project a presence into areas where it is historically absent. ABA ROLI will also improve the capacity of the Nigerien Ministry of Justice and the Nigerien national human rights commission, as well as select civil society organizations, to bolster their ability to respond to human rights violations.