Statement by the EITI International Secretariat in response to the arrest of Board member Ali Idrissa.
On Thursday 17 July Ali Idrissa, EITI Board member and Head of Nigerien civil society organisation, the Organisation for Transparency and Budgetary Analysis (ROTAB – Publish What You Pay Niger), was detained by the Niger authorities. This followed comments expressed on French military presence and on the agreement between AREVA and the Niger government. This press conference was organised on the eve of the visit of French President Francois Hollande to the country.
Ali was released Thursday evening, but arrested again in the early hours on Friday. Subsequently, a further group of members of ROTAB were understood to have been arrested for wearing a yellow scarf, which represents uranium and as a symbol for their dissatisfaction with the contract negotiations.
The EITI Standard is implemented by 45 countries of which 29, including Niger, are Compliant. All implementing countries commit to work with civil society and refrain from actions which result in restricting public debate in relation to implementation of the EITI.
The EITI International Secretariat is in close contact with, and has reached out to the Niger National Coordinator and the French Embassy in Niamey. The Rapid Response Committee of the EITI International Board met on Friday 18 July to consider further actions.