Increasing terrorism (in Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Burkina Faso) and responses to terrorism (repression and tight security, and the growth of exclusive and intolerant religious fundamentalism in most Sahelian countries); unresolved conflicts in Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea and elsewhere; new as well as older dynamics at work in the West Africa region – all these bring grave human rights violations in their wake, and threaten more. Governments invoke public security or supposedly traditional values, but some are hardly able to maintain the rule of law, if at all.
Some social groups are particularly vulnerable to human rights violations:
LGBT people are the (legal) victims of growing moral conservatism, and scapegoats for political or socio-economic crises. They have no voice because media reflect dominant prejudices, in defiance of their professional duty.
Young people are the majority, more than 60% of the population, yet they are marginalised. The consolidation of nepotism, in state institutions but also in many civil society organisations, deprives young people of any power to influence decisions, or even to express themselves – including through the media.
Ethnic and religious minorities are the first victims of conflicts, unless they are granted justice through specific ‘transitional justice’ processes. At best they often suffer rampant discrimination, at worst they are victims of popular revenge in reaction to political conflict or social tensions (for instance, in Guinea, Togo and Niger).
Local communities lose their rights over land, as vast tracts of West Africa are acquired – legally – by globalised businesses.
PIWA is committed to promoting universal and indivisible human rights, and ensuring they are enjoyed by minorities.
PIWA’s activities towards this goal include: