Portal:Niger

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The Niger Portal

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Flag of Niger
Coat of Arms of Niger
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Niger (/ˈnər/ or /nˈʒɛər/; French pronunciation: ​[niʒɛʁ]), officially named the Republic of Niger, is a landlocked country in Western Africa, named after the Niger River. It borders Nigeria and Benin to the south, Burkina Faso and Mali to the west, Algeria and Libya to the north and Chad to the east. Niger covers a land area of almost 1,270,000 km², over 80 percent of which is covered by the Sahara desert. The country's population of just above 15,000,000 is mostly clustered in the far south and west of the nation. The capital city is Niamey.

Niger is a developing country. Much of the non-desert portions of the country are threatened by periodic drought and desertification. The economy is concentrated around subsistence and some export agriculture clustered in the more fertile south, and the export of raw materials—especially uranium ore. Niger remains handicapped by its landlocked position, poor education, infrastructure, health care, deserts, poverty and environmental degradation.

Nigerien society reflects a great diversity drawn from the long independent histories of its several ethnic groups and regions and their relatively short period living in a single state. Historically, what is now Niger has been on the fringes of several large states. Since independence, Nigeriens have lived under five constitutions and three periods of military rule, but have maintained elected multiparty rule since 1999. The vast majority of the population practice Islam. A majority also live in rural areas, and have little access to advanced education.

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Journalist Moussa Kaka

Most human rights in Niger, as defined by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, are upheld and protected according to the country's Constitution of 1999. Despite these protections, concerns of both domestic and international human rights organizations have been raised over the behavior of the government, military, police forces, and over the continuation of traditional practices which contravene the 1999 constitution. Under French colonial rule (1900-1960) and from independence until 1992, citizens of Niger had few political rights, and lived under arbitrary government power.

The Constitution of 18 July 1999, the founding document of the Nigerien Fifth Republic and the basis of its legal system, guarantees certain rights for every citizen of Niger. These include rights to equality before the law, due process, universal suffrage, freedom of speech, and freedom of religion.

The constitution also created an official Nigerien National Commission on Human Rights and Fundamental Liberties to investigate and report upon human rights abuses. Its members are elected from several human rights associations, legal bodies, and government offices. It has no power to arrest, but it may investigate abuses either on its own volition or when charged by a victim. It reports to the President of Niger.

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1997 275-15 young Wodaabe women.jpg
Credit: Dan Lundberg

Young Wodaabe women in Niger.

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Tandja in Nigeria June 2007.jpg

Tandja Mamadou (born 1938) is a Nigerien politician who was the President of Niger from 1999 to 2010. He was President of the National Movement of the Development Society (MNSD) from 1991 to 1999 and unsuccessfully ran as the MNSD's presidential candidate in 1993 and 1996 before being elected to his first term in 1999. While serving as President of Niger, he was also Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States from 2005 to 2007.

President Tandja is of mixed Fula and Kanuri ancestry. He was the first President of Niger to not be ethnically Hausa or Djerma. Following a constitutional crisis in 2009, which was caused by Tandja's efforts to remain in office beyond the originally scheduled end of his term, he was ousted by the military in a coup d'etat in February 2010.

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