43 local, foreign groups seek humanitarian exemptions for Niger
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) and 42 other local and foreign humanitarian agencies have called on the international community to introduce humanitarian exemptions to the collective sanctions imposed on Niger.
Despite pressing needs, humanitarian actors said they face obstacles in delivering essential goods to the people. The exemptions, they noted, are vital to ensuring uninterrupted access to humanitarian assistance services for the most vulnerable population, particularly children.
The 2023 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) report revealed that over 4.3 million people in Niger are in dire need of aid. Of the number, more than 700,000 individuals, including internally displaced persons, refugees and asylum seekers, require urgent assistance.
Country Director for IRC, Paolo Cernuschi, said: “The clock is ticking, and the lives of Nigerien children are hanging in the balance. Without swift action to implement humanitarian exemptions, we risk losing the battle against malnutrition and preventable diseases.”
He explained that stocks of vital supplies such as nutritional aid and medical provisions are held up at the borders due to ongoing sanctions against the country by the Economic Commission for West African States (ECOWAS) and other regional bodies.
The coalition equally urged the Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator to implement necessary amendments to the sanctions.
They called for unimpeded and timely delivery of aid, authorisation of essential transactions, legal protection for humanitarian actors, as well as a review of sanctions’ impact to ensure no harm is done to the vulnerable population.
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