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Four Women’s Right Groups frown against ECOWAS military intervention in Niger

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) have condemned the military action ousting the government of President Mohamed Bazoum of Niger.

 In a joint statement issued and copied to Mydailynewsonline, the Four Women’s Right Groups frowned against the planned ECOWAS military intervention in Niger to restore President Bazoum’s government in the name of democracy.

“Niger suffers severe economic, social, peace, and security challenges in a beleaguered Sahel region. A close examination of the socio-economic realities is disturbing. The country has remained among the lowest in the global development ranking,” they stated.

It follows 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.

UNESCO has been concerned about the minimal chances for secondary school education in Niger, especially for women. In 2016, only 2.4% of women in Niger achieved secondary school education, compared to 7.8% of men.

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.

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

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Democracy is not simply about elections. Democracy thrives on the economic and social well-being of the women, boys, girls, and men of the society.

Therefore, ECOWAS must focus more critically on how it can promote democracy that benefits all citizens based on credible political, social, economic, and environmental conditions in member states.

Without a doubt, military rulers have historically failed to deliver on their promises all over Africa. Equally important to note is that attempts to impose democracy from external forces have also failed. ECOWAS must know this and understand that resorting to a military option would not serve the interest of Niger or the sub-region.

 

STATEMENT BY THE WOMEN’S MOVEMENT IN GHANA ON THE POLITICAL SITUATION IN NIGER

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) are jointly issuing this statement to add our voices to those condemning the military action ousting the government of President Mohamed Bazoum of Niger.

In addition, we hereby condemn the planned ECOWAS military intervention in Niger to restore President Bazoum’s government in the name of democracy.

Niger suffers severe economic, social, peace, and security challenges in a beleaguered Sahel region. A close examination of the socio-economic realities is disturbing. The country has remained among the lowest in the global development ranking.

It follows 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. UNESCO has been concerned about the minimal chances for secondary school education in Niger, especially for women. In 2016, only 2.4% of women in Niger achieved secondary school education, compared to 7.8% of men.

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. 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 well-being of the women, boys, girls and men of the society. Therefore, ECOWAS must focus more critically on how it can promote democracy that benefits all the citizens based on credible political, social, economic and environmental conditions in member states. Without a doubt, military rulers have historically failed to deliver on their promises all over Africa. Equally important to note is that attempts to impose democracy from external forces have also failed. 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. Advancing regional integration can occur without resorting to military action in Niger. Decision-making on Niger at this point in time must be guided by inclusiveness and by the fact that West Africans have an intricate network of family and social relations across all borders, confirming common historical origins. Instability in Niger will 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 sub-region, 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.

 

The various coalitions and networks of women in Ghana, therefore, call on all to consciously and intentionally nurture democratic governance systems that prioritise women’s rights and gender equality and meet the survival and strategic needs of all citizens. We demand the lifting of sanctions which only serve as punishment for the citizens of Niger, the worst victims being invariably poor women and children. ECOWAS must act to ensure that there is sub-regional peace and security by continuing with its regional integration project. We therefore speak with one voice as African women and say: THE PLANNED ECOWAS MILITARY OPTION IN NIGER IS NOT AN OPTION!

Issued this day 4th September 2023 in Accra by NETRIGHT, Women’s Manifesto Coalition, AA Bill Coalition and the Domestic Violence.

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