You have 0 items in your basket.
Donation Funnel
Islamic Relief Logo

Islamic Relief joins call for humanitarian exemptions to sanctions in Niger

A month since the government of Niger was overthrown, the humanitarian situation in the country is critical with more than 4.3 million people in need of aid.

Following the events of 26 July, the reaction of part of the international community resulted in a number of individual and collective sanctions: closure of land and air borders, suspension of development aid, suspension of financial and commercial transactions and freezing of the assets of the Republic of Niger and certain Nigeriens.

Islamic Relief is one of 45 humanitarian organisations to publish a new briefing paper calling on the international community to take three steps to ensure that vulnerable populations in Niger have access to basic social services and humanitarian assistance.

1. Introduce humanitarian exemptions to all the collective sanctions adopted against Niger, in order to guarantee the continuity of access of vulnerable populations in Niger to humanitarian services.

Without these exemptions, aid such as treatment for malnourished children and kits to tackle cholera and malaria will be severely disrupted. Sanctions are also impacting the response to hunger – there are 3.3 million Nigeriens classed as food insecure, but food supplies are blocked at the border and caps imposed on the withdrawal of cash from banks are causing delays in cash transfers to families who need the cash to buy food.

The briefing paper calls on the authors of the sanctions to ensure the unimpeded and timely delivery of aid and humanitarian workers, by land and air, to support activities; authorize all commercial and financial transactions necessary for the delivery of humanitarian aid in Niger; and ensure that humanitarian organizations and their staff involved in these transactions do not run any legal risk for humanitarian activities.

2. Review the sanctions adopted to date by applying the principle of “Do no harm” to any measure adopted against Niger, in order to guarantee protection and minimize the negative impact on the living conditions of the populations.

According to a rapid survey conducted by the Protection cluster, nearly 50% of Protection actors will no longer be able to fully carry out their protection assistance interventions beyond 3 months. More than a million people, including women and children, would then be deprived of access to protection services. In the medium term, the various sanctions will not only limit access to humanitarian assistance, but they could exacerbate protection problems, including gender-based violence, child protection as well as tensions for the access to already limited resources, tensions between refugees, internally displaced persons, and host communities.

3. Creativity, flexibility, and adaptation of financing mechanisms must be demonstrated in order to maintain access to basic social services for the populations of Niger.

The suspension of development aid will have significant consequences on the access of the populations of Niger to basic social services such as education and health. The asset freeze and suspension of foreign aid to the development sector will reduce the government’s overall budget and its ability to sustain basic social services, as well as its share of humanitarian response, including distributions of food during the lean season and the response to floods during this rainy season. If financial sanctions result in a decline in essential humanitarian and development assistance to populations, they risk leading to an accelerated increase in humanitarian needs and stifling development efforts. It is therefore imperative that humanitarian donors provide the funding required to meet at least the needs expressed in the humanitarian response plan.

Read the full briefing paper signed by 45 organisations here: How can vulnerable populations in Niger have access to basic social services and humanitarian assistance in the post-July 26, 2023, political context?

Quick donate