Restoring trust among cross-border communities in Niger through workshops explaining the criminal justice chain

12-11-2020

TILLABERRY (Niger) The deterioration of the security situation in the cross-border area of Niger for many years has affected communities in general, and women and youth in particular.

The security and justice systems are weakened by the ongoing fight against insecurity in these border areas, which has led to the rise of radical groups taking advantage of the presence of armed groups, the lack of opportunities for women and youth, and social and community conflicts.

There is also mistrust between the population, the defense and security forces, and the actors in the criminal chain. The lack of understanding of the mandate, role and functioning of the actors in the criminal chain and the Defense and Security Forces (DSF) does not encourage community involvement and collaboration in the fight against terrorism.

In order to strengthen collaboration and trust between the communities, the DSF and the actors in the criminal chain, UNODC organized training sessions for trainers of civil society organizations, women's organizations, youth organizations and community radio stations from October 31st to November 8th, 2020 on the roles and mandates of the Defense and Security Forces and actors in the penal chain as well as on recourse, reporting, orientation and advocacy from different localities in the communes of Bankilare, Banibangou, Aoyrou, Goroul and Tera among others.

A total of 55 trainers benefited from this training, 45 percent of whom were women.

Mrs. Rakia Ali, is a representative of the women's organization AREN and took part in a training session. "I was robbed in my locality the day after the training by a young man from the village. Luckily I had just attended the training where I learned about the role of the criminal justice system and the different avenues of redress and reporting. This helped us to resolve a conflict in my village," she explained.

"Since there is no DSF nor criminal justice actors our area, we took the matter to the village chief who represents the authority here, as I learned during the training. The village chief took up my complaint and followed the normal procedure until the youth was summoned by the DSF and finally confessed," said Ms. Ali.

The trainings aimed to introduce the roles and mandates of the DSF and criminal justice chain, and encourage better collaboration between these actors to restore confidence and fight insecurity and terrorism.

Mr. Boucar of the Young Leaders also participated in a session: "Upon returning to our communities, as a youth leader, we will convene young people at every opportunity to exchange, raise awareness and explain how the relationship with the FDS should be, to be tolerant, to collaborate fully so that the peace we hold dear comes back to this country.

A practical guide has been developed and made available to trainers for their awareness-raising activities in the field. The community radio stations relayed the information in the local language on their various stations.

"More than 80,000 listeners in Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso were able to receive the information following the organization of a program in the local language to increase community awareness and understanding of the roles and mandates of DSF, respect for human rights and gender for better collaboration between the different actors of peace," said Mr. Hamid Rissa, Director of the community radio of Bankilaré.

"Now that we are well-informed thanks to the training we will be able to give the right information to the communities. It will also be an opportunity for our radio to host programs in local languages on the roles and mandates of the DSF to better sensitize the population," said Mr. Rissa.

This training is part of the implementation of the activities of the joint UNODC/UNOFEMMES project: "Support to cross-border initiatives of community dialogue with actors of the security and justice sector for peacebuilding in Mali and Niger" of the Sahel Program, thanks to funding from the Peacebuilding Fund (PBF).

For more information:

Rebuilding cross-border trust and dialogue in Mali and Niger through community radio