International NGOs express disappointment at lack of humanitarian exemptions in ECOWAS sanctions against Niger

On 12 December 2023, several international NGOs operating in Niger expressed their deep disappointment at the lack of humanitarian exemptions in the sanctions imposed on Niger by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

The NGOs stressed that these humanitarian exemptions would be crucial in alleviating the suffering of more than 4.3 million Nigeriens in urgent need of humanitarian aid, whose conditions are worsening daily.

The ECOWAS Heads of State and Government, at their summit on 10 December 2023, did not heed the calls of Niger’s humanitarian community for guarantees that civilians would be able to access vital aid, and there would be a further deterioration in the conditions of the most vulnerable.

The humanitarian representative of the international NGOs in Niger, Mr Mohammed Chikhaoui, expressed his concern, stating that «we are very worried that our calls for humanitarian exemptions have fallen on deaf ears. This sends an alarming message to the people of Niger: essential humanitarian activities are being suspended at a time when humanitarian needs are increasing. People must have full and unhindered access to assistance. The route with Benin is blocked for political reasons, and the air or Burkinabe alternatives currently used are too slow, too costly and less effective. We need to see a change now ».


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