An official website of the United States Government Here's how you know

Official websites use .gov

A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS

A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.


Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

The constitution and law provide for freedom of speech and press, but the government sometimes threatened and arrested journalists and members of the media.

Freedom of Speech and Expression: On June 14, authorities detained Abdoul Moumouni Ousmane after he posted comments on Facebook critical of the government. Ousmane was given a six-month suspended sentence for attempting to foment a coup.

Violence and Harassment: Authorities subjected journalists to arrest, physical attack, harassment, and intimidation due to their reporting.

For example, on June 8, security forces arrested two journalists and a printer at independent newspaper Le Courier for “divulging documents” related to a criminal investigation of Ministry of Public Health officials accused of corruption in the administration of an employment examination. The two journalists, Moussa Dodo and Ali Soumana, were convicted and given three-month suspended sentences; the printer was acquitted and released.

The minister of communications revoked the press credentials of French journalist Nathalie Prevost after she reported critically on military developments in Diffa Region. The CNDH expressed concern over attacks on fundamental liberties, including the detention of journalists.

Censorship or Content Restrictions: Journalists practiced self-censorship, and public media generally did not cover the statements or activities of opposition parties and civil society organizations critical of the government.

National Security: The declaration of the state of emergency in Diffa Region grants the government the authority to censor media for security reasons.


Authorities detained activists and charged them for expressing political opinions on social media. Sonitel, the government-owned telecommunications company, indefinitely blocked access to certain websites, such as those of Boko Haram, under orders from the High Commission for New Technology and Communication.

According to the International Telecommunication Union, approximately 2.2 percent of the population used the internet in 2015.


There were no government restrictions on academic freedom or cultural events.


Although the constitution and law provide for freedom of assembly, police forcibly dispersed demonstrators. The government retained authority to prohibit gatherings under tense social conditions or if organizers did not provide 48-hour advance notice.

The government banned planned opposition political rallies in February and April.

Municipal authorities often denied official permission for opposition demonstrations and rallies. For example, in October police in Zinder city forcibly dispersed university students protesting delayed education subsidy payments.


The constitution and law provide for freedom of association, and the government generally respected this freedom. The law does not permit political parties based on ethnicity, religion, or region.

See the Department of State’s International Religious Freedom Report at

d. Freedom of Movement, Internally Displaced Persons, Protection of Refugees, and Stateless Persons

The constitution and law provide for freedom of internal movement, foreign travel, emigration, and repatriation, and the government respected most of these rights.

Abuse of Migrants, Refugees, and Stateless Persons: International organizations reported incidents of early marriage among internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Diffa Region not living in camps.

The government cooperated with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other humanitarian organizations in providing protection and assistance to IDPs, refugees, asylum seekers, or other persons of concern. UNHCR-managed sites hosted approximately 61,000 Malian refugees in Tillabery and Tahoua regions. UNHCR also managed one camp in Diffa Region for refugees and one camp in Diffa Region for IDPs. More than 92 percent of IDPs in Diffa Region, however, resided outside of formal camps.

In-country Movement: Security forces at checkpoints throughout the country monitored the movement of persons and goods, particularly near major population centers, and sometimes demanded bribes. Transportation unions and civil society groups continued to criticize such practices.


More than 180,000 individuals fled Boko Haram-instigated violence in parts of Diffa Region. These IDPs resided mainly in host communities in the region. Heavy seasonal rains left several thousand individuals homeless in July and August. The government worked with foreign donors, international aid organizations, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to supply these IDPs with shelter, food, water, and other necessities. The government engaged in efforts to promote the safe voluntary return or resettlement of IDPs.

IDPs in Diffa Region were vulnerable to armed attacks and unlawful recruitment of child soldiers by Boko Haram.

International humanitarian organizations reported that intercommunal conflict between farmers and herders and between rural communities and bandits, especially in northern Tillabery Region, resulted in displacement. Competition for scarce resources–spurred by desertification and population growth–resulted in periodic conflict between farmers and herders. Incursions by armed rebels from Mali and sporadic acts of banditry on main roads also caused residents to flee.


Access to Asylum: The law provides for the granting of asylum or refugee status, and the government has established a system for providing protection to refugees.

An estimated 61,000 registered Malian refugees remained in the country with prima facie refugee status. Refugees lived primarily in three camps (Tabareybarey, Mangaize, and Abala) and two official “refugee zones” (Tazalite and Intekan) where the refugees could settle freely with their livestock and thus maintain their traditional pastoral way of life. The government and humanitarian organizations provided assistance to refugees. In addition, approximately 10,000 refugees lived in spontaneous settlements along the border with Mali and had limited access to humanitarian assistance.

Conflict between Boko Haram and the Nigerian military in northeastern Nigeria triggered a flow of thousands of persons into Niger. Diffa Region hosted more than 300,000 persons displaced by the conflict in recent years.

Temporary Protection: The government provided temporary protection to an unknown number of individuals who may not qualify as refugees under the 1951 Refugee Convention or its 1967 protocol.

Human Rights Reports
Edit Your Custom Report

01 / Select a Year

02 / Select Sections

03 / Select Countries You can add more than one country or area.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future