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Niger: unions call for democracy, peace, stability and security

10 August, 2023On 26 July Niger’s democratically elected President Mohamed Bazoum was overthrown by his presidential guard.  General Abdourahamane Tchiani declared himself as head of state after the military seized power. Unions in Niger have called this military intervention in power as unconstitutional and undemocratic. 

On 30 July the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) issued an ultimatum and threat to intervene with military force to restore the deposed president back to power if the presidential guard did not release the president. The bloc’s defence chiefs have agreed on a possible military action plan, including when and where to strike if the country’s detained leader is not released and reinstated by this Sunday.

IndustriALL affiliates Syndicat National des Travailleurs de l'Industrie du Niger (SNTIN) and Syndicat National des Travailleurs des Mines du Niger who belong to one of the trade union centers Union de Syndicates des Travailleurs du Niger USTN, have condemned this military coup and calls on the population to ban any act of violence on people and their property. 

Unions have called on the so-called National Council for Safeguarding the Fatherland (CNSP), to make all efforts to store peace and stability for all in the region. Unions said that they will fight any situation that does not consider the general interests of workers and the Nigerien people. Unions demand that CNSP do everything possible to alleviate the suffering of workers through compliance with the commitments made by previous government. 

In the past years, the security in the Sahel region which includes countries Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, The Gambia, Guinea Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal has become severely unstable.  

Extremists, terrorists and insurgents continue to pose real threats to lives and livelihoods. Thousands of people have been killed, children kidnapped, schools destroyed, and farmers have been forced to quit their farms. These attacks partly account for why the countries in the Sahel region have high rates of poverty, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), out-of-school children and violent civilian deaths. 

The action plan adopted by the 2021 Congress says: “IndustriALL Global Union and its affiliates are firmly against all attempted coup d’état or anti-democratic interventions against the free will and vote of the people. We defend genuine democracy on the basis of respect for human rights and stand united with people in those countries affected”.

Rose Omamo, IndustriALL’s Vice-President for Sub-Saharan Africa says:

“If ECOWAS reacts with military intervention, it will greatly affect the working class and poor people who are already in a vulnerable position. We call on ECOWAS, to find diplomatic and concrete ways to resolve this political catastrophe which does not include mobilizing for military deployment. We also encourage ECOWAS and the African Union to take careful necessary steps to coordinate a platform to discuss security and challenges threatening the socio-economic and political stability of the Sahel region and the continent.” 

“Workers need democracy, peace, stability and security and deploying the military will not provide that.”