WACSOF SAYS NO TO ANY MILITARY INTERVENTION IN NIGER, CALLS ON ECOWAS FOR A PEACEFUL RESOLUTION, BETTER GOVERNANCE AND THE OPENING OF THE CIVIC SPACE
ABUJA AUGUST 21ST 2023: The West African Civil Society Forum (FOSCAO) is closely following the political crisis in NIGER, following the military coup on July 26, 2023 which led to the overthrow of the elected President MOHAMMED BAZOUM. During the extraordinary meeting of heads of state on July 29, 2023 in Abuja, Nigeria, ECOWAS, without prior dialogue known by to the public, immediately issued a series of sanctions against NIGER, including the threat of military intervention.
- WACSOF condemns any military, constitutional or electoral coup d’Etat
- Article 58 of the revised ECOWAS Treaty has provisions for regional security and that ECOWAS has had a conflict prevention framework (CPCC, ECPF) since 2008 and Article 13 of the revised ECOWAS Treaty created the ECOWAS parliament
- ECOWAS Member States are required to comply with international and regional legal instruments, including the “ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance” and the “African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Good Governance (ACDEG)”.
- The Chairperson of the African Union Commission appointed, on January 21, 2023, Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas as High Representative for Silencing the Guns
- The United Nations (UN), of which all ECOWAS states are members, provides tools and mechanisms for conflicts resolution. Chapters 6, 7 and 8 of the Charter of the United Nations have provisions respectively on the Peaceful Settlement of Disputes; action in the event of threat to the peace, breach of the peace and acts of aggression; and Regional Agreements.
Reaffirming its deepest concerns at the too many unresolved problems plaguing the region and negatively affecting the lives of citizens:
- Inequitable exploitation of natural resources that are not locally processed and that do not benefit citizens, as well as terrorist extremism and the consequences of climate change without forgetting the questionable conditions of children and women
- Inhuman and racist treatment of citizens, women and children, so called migrants, in several Mediterranean countries
- Generalized Corruption issues including those at land borders, preventing the free movement of people and goods and services and regional integration
The repetition of military, constitutional and electoral coups, a situation symptomatic of a deep malaise, resulting from a crisis of governance, endemic corruption, restriction of civic and political space, an instrumentalization of justice in the States to block political adversaries, or to imprison journalists and citizens with different opinions from the powers, with political prisoners and political exiles and extreme politicization of the national armies, as well as public administrations which should remain neutral and republican
In view of the foregoing, WACSOF:
- Calls upon ECOWAS and all stakeholders to respect the existing legal instruments and conflicts prevention frameworks and to favour peaceful resolution methods such as good offices, mediation, conciliation and facilitation based on dialogue, negotiation and arbitration;
- Says NO to any military intervention in NIGER and calls on ECOWAS to favour a peaceful solution between the citizens of NIGER. In this country already faced with terrorist insecurity, any military intervention would precipitate it into indescribable chaos, with the risk of the proliferation of weapons and the risk of collapse of coastal countries, not to mention the risk of creating a ‘’second LYBIA’’ and exposing the entire region to another form of colonization by external forces which are just waiting for this opportunity. WACSOF recalls the wisdom that says: « We know when a war begins and we don’t know when it ends ».
- Calls on ECOWAS to concentrate its military resources on the fight against terrorists throughout the community space
- Calls for targeted sanctions that do not aggravate the already precarious situation of citizens
- Launches a strong appeal to ECOWAS and Heads of State to work for an immediate, inclusive and lasting improvement of democratic governance, the fight against corruption, the protection of human rights, better opening of civic and political space in member states, in order to contribute more effectively to the co-construction of a true ECOWAS of the Peoples, as expressed in its Vision 2050.
- Free, inclusive and transparent elections (consensual electoral laws and voters lists) with independence of justice (without instrumentalization of justice in the service of powers and avoiding elections without opposition)
- Opening of civic space (freedom of association, freedom of assembly, freedom of press and expression), and release of political prisoners and return of political exiles
- Active inclusion of its Parliament, civil society, religious and traditional leaders in the construction and implementation of solutions
- Calls on ECOWAS to finalize the “review process of the 2001 additional protocol on democracy and good governance”, as decided by the extraordinary summit of heads of state, on September 16th, 2021 in Accra, Ghana.
- Calls on the African Union (AU) to really put into practice the ‘’theme of silencing the guns’’
- Calls on ECOWAS and AU and the heads of states, for the acceleration of inclusive and sustainable economic and social development, better control and local processing of raw materials and natural resources in the region for the benefit of citizens as well as the mobilization of ECOWAS with more dynamism, for the settlement of structural problems in the region that have a very negative impact on the lives of citizens
- Remains seized of the situation in NIGER and invites all civil society organizations to contribute actively to dialogue, peace and social cohesion.
- Affirms its full readiness to contribute, alongside ECOWAS, the people of NIGER and all stakeholders, to a return to constitutional order, peace, economic development and social cohesion.
Contacts: Media@Wacsof-Foscao.Org / +234 810 287 0960 (WhatsApp)
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With more than 1000 Member Organizations, the WEST AFRICAN CIVIL SOCIETY FORUM (WACSOF) is the umbrella network of the Civil Society in West Africa, covering 18 thematic areas, with representation in 15 countries of ECOWAS. WACSOF is the channel for institutionalized dialogue between civil society organizations and ECOWAS. WACSOF builds capacity, advocates, mobilizes civil society, engages in the formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies for a prosperous, stable and peaceful Africa. WACSOF is an excellent channel, a one-stop-shop for systematic engagement between institutions and civil society organizations, for impactful results. www.Wacsof-Foscao.Org