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The Tuareg Uprising of northern Niger

Tazzla Institute for Cultural Diversity

313 South LaMer Street

Burbank, California 91506

tazzla@earthlink.net

Amazigh Cultural Association in America, Inc.

3959 Welsh Rd, #320

Willow Grove, PA 19090

215-886-0563

 

 

PRESS RELEASE

 

The Tuareg Uprising of northern Niger

 

 

August 2, 2007

 

The events that have taken place in northern Niger in the recent weeks are distressing and have the potential of resulting in excessive human strife and loss of life. The Mouvement des Nigeriens pour la Justice (Nigeriens’ Movement for Justice) has organized an armed resistance against the government of Niger to protest the neglect and discrimination the Tuareg populations of the north have experienced and continue to suffer and the lack of social justice for all citizens of Niger. The government responded to the rebellion with retaliatory actions against the civilian populations. These events prompted our two organizations, Tazzla Institute for Cultural Diversity (U.S. partner to OVD Tedhilt, a Tuareg NGO of Niger,) and A.C.A.A., The Amazigh Cultural Association in America, to issue this press release to inform the American press , public opinion, and concerned organizations, while urging each and all to exercise caution in the interpretation of the events in this region.

 

  1. In early 2007, Tuaregs of northern Niger regrouped under the name of Movement of Nigeriens for Justice (M.N.J.). The stated mission of MNJ is to seek social justice for the Tuareg population of Niger, and “to fight ignorance, bad government, poverty, hunger and illiteracy”

 

  1. In the last two months, MNJ has led an armed resistance in northern Niger, confronting troops sent by government authorities to quell what they label as a group of “bandits and drug traffickers.” To prevent reporters from foreign countries to report anything on the situation they wish to control, these authorities have banned foreign press, closed newspapers, and suspended radio programs under the pretext that such press and radio coverage helped the rebellion and was a danger to government troops.

 

  1. Numerous individuals and organizations concerned with human rights are circulating petitions calling for peace and dialog in Europe and in the United States. However, MNJ which follows all appeals for peace and dialog, reminds the international opinion that there will be no peace without justice, and no dialog is possible without the full recognition of MNJ by authorities of Niger.

 

  1. MNJ and the Tuareg uprising of northern Niger address a catastrophic social situation in that country, where a population of Tuaregs is under extreme stress, suffering from hunger and poverty, with no infrastructures or financial resources in place to provide roads, clean water, power, clinics, and schools. Tuaregs are marginalized by discriminative policies, which have not changed despite promises signed under the Peace Accords of the 1990’s that followed a first rebellion. Tuaregs seek full citizenship and equal rights in a country which treats them as non-citizens for the most part.

 

  1. The current system in Niger has failed to meet the challenge in gaining the trust of all communities and making peace sustainable, and needs profound reform.

 

  1. While the government continues its policy of neglect and discrimination against the Tuaregs, it refuses to allow them to receive a fair share of the revenues generated by the exploitation of their region. Until today, two French mining groups, SOMAIR and COMINAK, have benefited from contracts with the state of Niger for the extraction of uranium in the region of Arlit. Both France and Niger have realized substantial gains from these operations, while the local Tuareg population has been subjected to a number of disadvantages, environmental pollution, and diseases linked to the known contamination of radiated water used locally not only for daily consumption but to irrigate vegetable gardens.

 

  1. A peaceful solution must be sought through negotiations by all parties involved in order to avoid bloodshed and human catastrophe. Every citizen of Niger is entitled to basic human, economical and political rights. This also means putting an end to the marginalization of the Tuareg populations.

 

  1. The present military action, involving the recent land mining around the town of Ifrouane will have dire consequences for the civilian population of northern Niger, putting at risk Tuareg elders, women and children. Humanitarian efforts are already on their way, such as those of Danielle Mitterand’s France Libertes Foundation. We urge you to appeal to the President of Niger, Mamadou Tandja, to desist from the mining of Tuareg territory, as land mines have devastating effects on civilian populations, taking lives and limbs for years, decades to come, and is an inhuman way to conduct military operations against a citizen’s movement. His Excellency Mamadou Tandja can be contacted at ambassadeniger@hotmail.com

 

 

Helene E. Hagan Hsen Larbi

President President

Tazzla Institute for Cultural Diversity Amazigh Cultural Association in America

 

 

 

 


Auteur: Tazzla Institute for Cultural Diversity
Date : 2007-08-07


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