Four Women’s Right Groups condemned Military action in Niger

Four Women’s Rights and Advocacy Groups in Ghana have condemned the Military action that ousted the government of President Mohamed Bazoum of Niger.

In addition, they condemned the planned ECOWAS Military intervention in Niger to restore President Bazoum’s government in the name of democracy.

They are The Network for Women’s Rights in Ghana (NETRIGHT), the Women’s Manifesto Coalition (WMC), The Affirmative Action Coalition (AABill Coalition) and the Domestic Violence Coalition (DVC).

A statement jointly issued in Accra said Niger suffered severe economic, social, peace, and security challenges in a beleaguered Sahel region.

It said a close examination of the socio-economic realities was disturbing and the country had remained among the lowest in the global development ranking.

The statement said it followed war-torn Yemen as the worst performing on the gender inequality index, with women denied the most basic social and economic rights for a life of dignity and self-advancement.

It said The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization had been concerned about the minimal chances for secondary school education in Niger, especially for women.

In 2016, only 2.4 per cent of women in Niger achieved secondary school education, compared to 7.8 per cent of men.

It said the multi-dimensional crises of poverty and hunger affect over five million persons in Niger, with women and children as the most deprived.

Meanwhile, three-quarters of the people who live in rural areas depend on agriculture in unfriendly climatic conditions.

The statement said most people living in urban areas eke out impoverished livelihoods in the sprawling informal economy without social protection schemes to fall on.

‘Democracy is not simply about elections. Democracy thrives on the economic and social wellbeing of the women, boys, girls, and men of the society,’ it said.

It urged ECOWAS to focus more critically on how it could promote democracy that benefitted all the citizens based on credible political, social, economic, and environmental conditions in member states.

The statement said without a doubt, Military rulers had historically failed to deliver on their promises all over Africa and equally important to note was that attempts to impose democracy from external forces have also failed.

It said ECOWAS must know this and understand that resorting to a military option would not serve the interest of Niger or the sub-region.

The ECOWAS Commission must focus on its core mandate of promoting regional integration and eradicating poverty in the West Africa region and advancing regional integration could occur without resorting to military action in Niger.

It said decision-making on Niger now must be guided by inclusiveness and by the fact that West Africans had an intricate network of family and social relations across all borders, confirming common historical origins.

The statement said instability in Niger would have a cascading effect on many others in the sub-region; witness the news about onions destined for Ghana stranded at the Niger border.

‘In recognition of its impact on both Niger and the subregion, it is imperative that the model adopted for resolving the impasse in Niger focus on diplomacy and political dialogue, which is more in sync with building an ECOWAS that thrives on equitable principles,’ it added.

They called on all to consciously and intentionally nurture democratic governance systems that prioritised women’s rights, gender equality, and meet the survival and strategic needs of all citizens.

They demanded the lifting of sanctions which only serve as punishment for the citizens of Niger, the worst victims being invariably poor women and children.

It said ECOWAS must act to ensure that there WAs sub-regional peace and security by continuing with its regional integration project.

Source: Ghana News Agency