Supporters of putschist soldiers hold Niger's flags as they celebrate outside the National Assembly building in Niamey, Niger, 27 July 2023. EFE-EPA/FILE/STR

UN rights chief alleges detained Niger president subjected to ‘inhumane treatment’

Geneva, Aug 11 (EFE).- The United Nations human rights chief Friday expressed concern over the “inhuman and degrading treatment” of deposed Niger president Mohamed Bazoum and his family.

“I am extremely concerned about the rapidly deteriorating conditions in which President Mohamed Bazoum of Niger, his wife, and his son have been arbitrarily detained,” Volker Türk said in a statement.

Türk said he had received “credible reports” indicating that the conditions of their detention “could amount to inhuman and degrading treatment” in violation of international human rights law.

The three have been detained at the Niamey Presidential Palace since the military coup on July 26.

Türk claimed that he had received reports that electricity had been cut, and the president and his family had “no access to clean drinking water – amid hot temperatures in Niger – and to necessary medicine.”

“Those responsible for the detention of the President must ensure the full respect and protection of his human rights, and of all others being held.”

Meanwhile, uncertainty continues to engulf the West African nation after the commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) ordered Thursday the activation of the bloc’s stand-by force ahead of a possible military intervention in Niger to reinstate President Bazoum.

But neighboring Burkina Faso and Mali – both currently governed by military juntas – have stated that they will regard an attack on Niger as an attack on them.

Chad, which has the longest border with Niger, says it will not participate. And another neighbor, Algeria, is firmly opposed to military intervention.

Niger, a former French colony, is the fourth West African nation to experience a military coup since 2020, joining Mali, Guinea-Conakry, and Burkina Faso.

Earlier this week, Niger coup leaders declined to receive a joint ECOWAS-African Union-United Nations delegation. EFE