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Cablegate: Niger: Ministry of Foreign Affairs Response To

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHNM #0533 1411352
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 201352Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY NIAMEY
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4315
INFO RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 0682
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE

UNCLAS NIAMEY 000533

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/W DENNISON
PARIS FOR AF WATCHER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PHUM MARR PGOV NG
SUBJECT: NIGER: MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS RESPONSE TO
EMBASSY'S DIPLOMATIC NOTE ON HUMAN RIGHTS CONCERNS

REF: A. NIAMEY 364 (NOTAL)
B. NIAMEY 226

1. (U) Following is an unofficial English translation of the
Government of Niger (GON) Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Diplomatic Note Number 3413 (dated 19 May 2008), in response
to U.S. Embassy Niamey Diplomatic Note Number 36, related to
allegations of human rights abuses conducted by Nigerien
military personnel against civilians in the conflict in
northern Niger.

2. (SBU) Begin Text.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the
Republic of Niger presents its compliments to the Embassy of
the United States of American in Niamey and, in reference to
its Diplomatic Note Number 36, dated 26 February 2008,
concerning the human rights situation in northern Niger, has
the privilege to inform the Embassy of the following:

The operations in course in northern Niger are progressing in
strict respect of international humanitarian law and the laws
and regulations of the Republic.

Certainly, the Embassy should be aware that in ongoing
conflicts in inhabited zones, it is difficult to avoid
collatoral damage.

The Nigerien Armed Forces (FAN), in their mission to
guarantee integrity of the national territory and the
security of persons and goods, takes every effort to
minimize, in fact, totally avoid incidents of damage.

Thus, since the proclamation of the state of alert in the
region of Agadez, the High Commander of the National Police
Force who concurrently exercises the functions of the
administrative, judicial and military police, has firmly
instructed the Commander of the Agadez Legion to remember
that the state of alert does not in any respect free officers
or active agents from fully respecting in any location and in
every circumstance human rights recognized and protected by
the laws in force.

Also, the Commander of the operations in the north has been
firmly instructed that troops engaged in an operation must be
partnered with a detachment of the National Police Force, so
that a report may be made in case of incidents involving
civilians.

The result is that all acts of the Judicial Police
(questioning, interrogation, custody, search or seizure)
through the registering by the officers or agents of the
National Judicial Police are in conformity with the rule of
law.

Finally, the Embassy should be assured that in alleged cases
of abuse the Nigerien military Commander has never hesitated
to take appropriate measures, including taking disciplinary
actions before the competent jurisdictional authorities.

With regard to all the above, and sensationalism that
generally surrounds these kind of situations, the competent
Nigerien authorities consider that all the various reports
from news journals and other human rights organizations are
mainly based on rumor rather than verified facts, with date,
time, name of victim and credible witnesses.

Moreover, it should be noted that armed bandits, who operate
in the same terrain, proceed with all sorts of acts against
the civilian population that are unjustly blamed on the
defense and security forces.

The Ministry would appreciate the Embassy's particular
attention and willingness to transfer the elements of this
response to the competent authorities in its country.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation thanks the
Embassy of the United States of America in Niamey for its
kind collaboration and avails itself of this opportunity to
renew to the Embassy the assurances of its highest
consideration.

End text.

ALLEN

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