USTN promotes safe migration in Niger with the support of the Italian labour movement

Nexus Emilia Romagna collaborates with the Union Syndicale des Travailleurs du Niger (USTN) to mitigate the risks of unsafe migration and improve the protection of human, social, and economic rights for migrants in Niger.

The solidarity support organisation of the Confederazione Generale Italiana del Lavoro (CGIL), Nexus Emilia Romagna, is coming to the end of its first year in a three-year collaboration with the USTN on a project financed by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation.

Aligned with the 2030 Agenda’s Sustainable Development Goals, the project Re.Mi. contributes to target 8 of Goal 8, focused on protecting workers’ rights and ensuring a safe working environment, and target 7 of Goal 10 which relates to enhancing the orderly, safe, and responsible mobility of people.

Niger lies at the heart of African migratory routes. Over the past 15 years, the country has established itself as both a place of departure, a place of residence of diverse diaspora groups from West Africa, and a transit point for sub-Saharan migrants heading north to Maghreb and Europe. In addition, the country has also become a refuge for displaced people fleeing conflicts, rejections, expulsions and insecure conditions in neighbouring countries.

Considering the complex picture of the migrant presence in Niger, the Re.Mi. project focuses on four key groups:

  1. Long-term diaspora communities and migrant workers in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) area.
  2. Displaced people and refugees fleeing jihadist conflicts.
  3. Migrants in transit towards the North African borders.
  4. Migrants returning, often forcibly due to rejections, to unsafe conditions in Algeria and Libya.

Despite commitments to fight human trafficking and assist displaced people fleeing conflicts made by the government and UN agencies in the country, Niger is characterised by the presence of numerous migrants in vulnerable conditions and at risk of joining the channels of irregular migration.

In this context and over the past year, year Nexus E.R. and USTN have organised the following actions:

  • Nine days of safe migration training for Civil Society Organisations with 648 beneficiaries: The training provided skills in safe migration, rights to mobility, international conventions, ECOWAS protocols and Nigerian legislation. Participants learned how to identify, assist, orient and guide migrants at risk or already in the grip of traffickers and labour exploitation.
  • Establishment of a safe migration platform in Niger: The platform brings together organisations active in the field of migration in Niger. It enables them to share positions and develop joint recommendations for the government and international institutions. The platform launched in June 2023 and its first concrete action was to develop a Charter of Values on safe migration.
  • National research on migratory dynamics in Niger: The research provides an overview of the national and international legislation on migration, especially in the context of EU border externalisation policies. It also analyses migrants’ vulnerability, notably in terms of labour exploitation. Finally, the research identifies concrete actions by civil society to guarantee safe migration pathways.
  • Service for migrant workers in Niger: An “orientation to regular mobility, work, local services and legal protection” desk has been made operational within the headquarters of the USTN. The service provides administrative and legal support about matters linked to transnational mobility, access to local services (health, education, social protection), and employment relations.
  • Professional training for migrants at risk or already in a vulnerable working condition: Structured in small focus groups of migrants and focused on the hospitality and textile sectors, participants evaluate their working conditions, identify challenges and assess their training needs and aspirations.

Find more information regarding the efforts of trade unions to support workers’ rights in Niger and their representation within the context of the 2030 Agenda on the ITUC website and its Global Rights Index. Additionally, the online media Equal Times offers comprehensive coverage, shedding light on the ever-evolving dynamics of workers’ rights in Niger and worldwide.